NFSAS fund­ing in 34% jump

Grocott's Mail - - ECONOMIX - STAFF RE­PORTER

The Na­tional Stu­dent Fi­nan­cial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), which pre­sented its An­nual Re­port for the 2016/17 fi­nan­cial year to the Par­lia­ment Port­fo­lio Com­mit­tee on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing on 18 October 2017, re­vealed a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in fund­ing to fi­nan­cially el­i­gi­ble stu­dents in the 2016 aca­demic year.

Ac­cord­ing to a press state­ment is­sued on Tues­day, NFSAS dis­bursed R12.4 bil­lion to both the pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties and Tech­ni­cal Vo­ca­tional Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing (TVET) Col­leges; this rep­re­sents an in­crease in fund­ing of 34% from R9.2 bil­lion in the 2015 aca­demic year. NSFAS funded a to­tal of 451 507 stu­dents, a 9% in­crease from the 414,949 stu­dents sup­ported in 2015. The en­tity funded 225 950 stu­dents at uni­ver­si­ties with fund­ing amount­ing to R10.3 bil­lion and as­sisted 225 557 TVET Col­leges stu­dents with fund­ing amount­ing to R2.1 bil­lion.

"In en­sur­ing that we main­tain a high level of gov­er­nance and ac­count­abil­ity, the en­tity has re­ceived an un­qual­i­fied au­dit opin­ion on its fi­nan- cial state­ments for the year ended 31 March 2017, the sev­enth con­sec­u­tive year in a row," said NSFAS Spokesper­son Kag­isho Mam­abolo.

Of the R10.4 bil­lion dis­bursed to uni­ver­si­ties, half (R5.2 bil­lion) was in form of bur­saries and R3.5 bil­lion in form of sub­si­dies of in­ter­est and re­pay­ments to funded stu­dents. The R2.1 bil­lion fund­ing to TVET Col­lege stu­dents was all for bur­saries.

The most sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to stu­dent fund­ing was the Depart­ment of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing (DHET) to the value of R11 bil­lion (81%), fol­lowed by Depart­ment of Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion with R1.0 bil­lion (8%) and the Na­tional Skills Fund (6%). Other govern­ment de­part­ments con­trib­uted at least R310 mil­lion. Grants for stu­dent fund­ing in­creased by 51% from R9.1 bil­lion in the prior year to R13.8 bil­lion in the cur­rent year.

“It is pleas­ing to re­port that the to­tal bur­saries and sub­si­dies en­joyed by NSFAS funded stu­dents dur­ing the year un­der re­view was R10.8 bil­lion. With­out these bur­saries and sub­si­dies out­lined above, ac­cess to higher ed­u­ca­tion for po­ten­tially de­serv­ing stu­dents would be much lower than is cur­rently the case,” Sizwe Nx­as­ana, NSFAS Board Chair­per­son.

Col­lec­tions have also in­creased by 73% from R226.7 mil­lion to R392.4 mil­lion in the prior year, ex­ceed­ing the tar­get of R285 mil­lion by 38%.

Re­cov­er­ies re-in­jected to fund new stu­dents amounts to R900 mil­lion in the 2016 aca­demic year, an in­crease of 64% from R500 mil­lion in the prior year.

NSFAS also utilises the re­cov­ered funds to make up­front pay­ments to in­sti­tu­tions dur­ing the com­mence­ment of ev­ery aca­demic year. This al­lows NSFAS funded stu­dents to regis­ter with­out pay­ing regis­tra­tion fees.

“NSFAS is mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant progress in as­sist­ing more stu­dents and im­prov­ing their ser­vice to stu­dents, uni­ver­si­ties and TVET Col­leges,” said NSFAS CEO Steven Zwane, NSFAS. “We are also mind­ful of our re­spon­si­bil­ity to build trust be­tween the or­gan­i­sa­tion and its stake­hold­ers, to this end we will be run­ning a cam­paign to cel­e­brate the achieve­ments of NSFAS ben­e­fi­cia­ries.”

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