DA YOUTH IN DRIVE TO HIKE 'AID THRESHOLD'

THE DA Youth has begun a campaign to getpoor students to sign a petition to force Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande to re-look the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) threshold.

THE DA Youth has begun a campaign to getpoor students to sign a petition to force Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande to re-look the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) threshold.

Currently, a student qualifies for financial aid if their parent(s) earns R120000 or less per year.

KwaZulu-Natal DA Youth leader Zwakele Mncwa-ngo said yesterday the current threshold of R120000 was stifling the creation of real opportunities in higher education.

He said the campaign was ignited by a report which stated that R40million was returned to the NSFAS as universities could not find enough students to meet the financial threshold last year.

Mncwango said the campaign was set to run across 22 institutions nationwide.

SA Students Congress provincial spokesperson Sandile Phakathi said it was very opportunistic for the DA Youth to take a Sasco initiative and make it their own.

"Many students do not get financial aid due to the threshold of R120000, and even those who have parents or guardians earning less, are also not getting support.

"We suggested the threshold of R250000 in presentations to Parliament before the DA thought of doing so," Phakathi said.

Mncwango said: "The petition will be sent to Nzimande urging him to reconsider his decision so that more students can benefit from the much-needed financial aid.

"We cannot have a situation where money that is supposed to assist poor students is returned to the government while thousands of very needy students are struggling to pay their fees.

"We appeal to the minister of higher education to adjust the threshold to at least to R250000.

"We would like to add that we do not say that itself is enough," Mncwango said.

South African Democratic Students Movement leader Chris Ntuli said it did not make sense that money supposed to help students pursue their studies was returned to the government.

"We believe that the funding of the NSFAS must be increased."

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