NSFAS to pay students at colleges directly
Dealing with rude cashiers and having an unreliable e-wallet system were some of the challenges faced by beneficiaries of National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) at public technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges.
However, that will soon be a thing of the past as of next year the scheme will migrate students from all public TVET colleges who receive their allowances through NSFAS e-wallet and institutional disbursement services to a direct payment system which will see allowances paid directly to their bank account.
Several students said the NSFAS e-wallet system was a nightmare.
Lerato Marokoane, 19, a first year student at Gert Sibande FET College Evander campus, said the banking system would be a relief for the students.
"It was very difficult to cash up the money as we had to deal with rude cashiers at shops that are recommended by NSFAS. At times it was a struggle to get money to buy food as they will tell you there was no money in their tills. Having money deposited into our bank accounts means that I will not struggle with transport money because at this stage we have to wait before we can get our allowances."
Another student, Njabulo Mahlangu, 20, from Benoni TVET college, said he was also happy that he won't be dealing with rude cashiers.
"Some cashiers would say we should withdraw a maximum of R200 and that time you have to pay rent, buy food and also have transport money. They truly made our lives difficult as if they were doing us a favour by cashing up the NSFAS funds," he said.
Thabo Nyakalle, 21, from Ekurhuleni TVET college, said besides the fact that he had not received his allowance for two months, the banking system was much better. "The e-wallet system was complicated at times because if you accidentally block yourself it was a struggle for the system to unblock you," he said.
NSFAS administrator Dr Randall Carolissen said the migration will eliminate third parties in the payment channel as part of NSFAS's strategy to fully implement the student-centred model of paying allowances directly to the students.
"By disbursing directly to student's bank accounts, NSFAS will eradicate fraudulent activities and scams which students have been subjected to. Recipients of NSFAS disbursement will have the added security offered by administered accounts. The direct payment system is convenient and allows a student to be in charge and have access to their allowance all the time with no limitation or additional tedious bureaucratic processes."
Carolissen said NSFAS this year replaced the voucher system with cash for students to manage their own finances.