The Herald (South Africa)

R150m provided so far for province’s students

- Aretha Linden

WHILE the government has yet to announce exactly how much will be made available for free education this year, three Eastern Cape universiti­es have confirmed receiving close to R150-million to assist students who qualify for free education.

Walter Sisulu University received the lion’s share of the Eastern Cape-allocated money, R91-million, the University of Fort Hare (UFH) received R45-million, Rhodes University confirmed receiving R9-million, while Nelson Mandela University (NMU) failed to provide the amount allocated to it.

The allocation was part of the R1.5-billion the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) paid to universiti­es across the country to cover registrati­on fees, books and other essentials.

Although the NSFAS said it was unable to confirm how much each university would get to fund free education this year, in a press release issued earlier this month, spokesman Kagisho Mamabolo said the upfront payment amounted to at least 13% of the provisiona­l allocation for the year that each institutio­n received from the NSFAS.

More than 60 000 students from the province have applied for free education. Of the new applicatio­ns, 15 072 are from WSU, 8 844 from NMU, 4 308 from UFH and 1 448 from Rhodes.

A total of 33 276 new applicatio­ns were received from students from TVET colleges through out the province.

The NSFAS is now in the process of communicat­ing the outcome of the applicatio­ns to students.

WSU spokeswoma­n Yonela Tukwayo said based on last year’s student profiles and previous funding, the university expected R900-million from the NSFAS to fund students this year.

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