NSFAS teams up with universities to fix registration issue

Some students were turned away without registering at the TUT Soshanguve Campus due to outstanding tuition fees and courses applied for being full./Thulani Mbele
Some students were turned away without registering at the TUT Soshanguve Campus due to outstanding tuition fees and courses applied for being full./Thulani Mbele

The student financial aid fund says it will be engaging all universities to ensure that returning students who were blocked from registering were allowed to enrol.

Hundreds of students across the country have been blocked from registering by their universities after the National Student Aid Fund Scheme (NSFAS) failed to settle their 2019 tuition fees.

At the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), returning students were this week being compelled to sign acknowledgement of debt documents before they could register.

This comes as some students were struggling to register as their 2019 tuition fees are yet to be settled by NSFAS while others were still waiting for their applications to be approved. NSFAS spokesperson Kagisho Mamabolo said they were attending to the matter.

"For all the students with unresolved 2019 issues, NSFAS will share details with the institutions to assist with the registration process to unblock the students."

TUT's student representative council's secretary Lehlohonolo Moremi said they were opposed to students being forced to sign acknowledgements of debt.

"The acknowledgement of debt should be between NSFAS and the university because the document that students sign is actually binding them to the debt, and we believe it should be NSFAS's debt," Moremi said.

Moremi said this was one issue where they hadn't reached a solution with the institution following their emergency meeting on Wednesday.

NSFAS also issued a warning via its Twitter account that should students raise money to cover their own registration fees, the financial aid scheme will not refund them.

"NSFAS should before the end of the month be clear on the status of applications
because it's risky for students to enrol while they don't know who's going to fund them," Moremi said.

TUT's spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said the acknowledgement of debt documents which were being signed by students were a standard procedure.

Meanwhile, social development minister Lindiwe Zulu announced in Pretoria yesterday that 1,281 pupils with special needs from 2,255 that sat for matric exams last year passed, with 684 achieving bachelor and diploma passes. These are pupils who are surviving on disability grants.

"Learners receiving social protection services account for 76% of all full-time national senior certificate enrolments with inactive social grand beneficiaries accounting for the larger proportion (59%). This varies by province, from 43% in Western Cape to 71% in Limpopo," Zulu said.

Zulu said those who have passed and were receiving social grants will not be subjected to more tests to qualify for the financial aid from NSFAS.

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