The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Naledi Pandor has made a plea to all members of Parliament and political parties to assist the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in making sure that the 34 000 TVET College students who are confirmed beneficiaries and have not yet signed their Schedule of Particulars (SOP’s) do so immediately.
Minister Pandor said students may not be aware that failure to sign the SOPs means NSFAS cannot pay their allowances.
The Schedule of Particulars is a document which binds a student to the terms and conditions stipulated by NSFAS. These SOPs contain particular details of a student and spell out the requirements to be satisfied by the student, including registering a satisfactory pass in order for NSFAS to continue with funding the following year.
Speaking in the National Assembly of Parliament, this morning, Minister Pandor said over R17 billion has been disbursed to universities and TVET colleges since the beginning of this year of introducing free higher education. Over R2.2 billion has been disbursed within eight days of the Administrator taking over the administration, management and governance of NSFAS.
Minister Pandor also confirmed that new applications for NSFAS funding for 2019 had opened on 3rd September and applications will close on the 30th of November 2018.
“This is to ensure that students will be able to begin the 2019 academic year with the confirmation of whether they have qualified for funding or not” Minister Pandor said.
Regarding the matter of the Chief Executive Officer, who has been put on suspension, Minister Pandor said it was a NSFAS matter and will be addressed by the Administrator and “not by the Minister or DHET”.
On the way forward, Minister Pandor said, once the immediate challenges have been fully addressed the administrator will focus on identifying the root causes of the problems of the systems at NSFAS and develop solutions and a roadmap to address them.
“We anticipate a significantly amended business design which should be put in place after the 2019 registration period” Minister added.
Minister Pandor said that, based on the steps taken by the administrator thus far, she was positive that significant improvements will be achieved within the administration period.
Issued by the Ministry of Higher Education and Training
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