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NSFAS assures approved students their registration fees will be paid

National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) administrator Randall Carolissen.
National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) administrator Randall Carolissen.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has assured approved applicants  that it will pay their registration fees for the 2020 academic year and reimburse them if they have already paid the fees themselves.

The undertaking was given on Friday as students across different institutions expressed concerns.

NSFAS administrator Randall Carolissen this week announced that about R31bn had been set aside to help students from families earning up to R350,000 a year annum.  

He said the figure could be increased to R35bn.

Higher education and training minister Blade Nzimande on Thursday said the scheme had received a record-breaking number of applications by the closing date of November 30.

“More than 543,268 first-time applications [previous year 428,929] were received from across the country, with the majority [of them] online via the myNSAFS portal,” said Nzimande.

He was speaking at a media briefing in Pretoria.

He said the number of applicants included those who were in matric in 2019, pupils in grades 10 and 11 intending to further their studies at TVET colleges, out of school youth, and returning or continuing students previously without NSFAS support.

Nzimade said he was proud that more than 50% of the applicants were Sassa beneficiaries. He said it showed government’s commitment to supporting the less fortunate.

To date 359,037 applications had been approved for full funding.   

Students at TVET colleges had expressed funding concerns due to an influx of walk-ins after walk-ins were discouraged at universities.

NSFAS said it had deployed a team of support staff at TVET colleges from January 13 who would help with queries and late admissions.