TUT students want NSFAS allowances

FILE PHOTO: A Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) student from the Soshanguve campus in Pretoria drags a bag. TUT students from the Soshanguve campus say they have not received their NSFAS allowances for seven months.
FILE PHOTO: A Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) student from the Soshanguve campus in Pretoria drags a bag. TUT students from the Soshanguve campus say they have not received their NSFAS allowances for seven months.
Image: VATHISWA RUSELO SOWETAN/SUNDAY WORLD

Dozens of Tshwane University of Technology's (TUT) Soshanguve campus students say they have not been paid their National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) accommodation allowances for seven months.

The students who live on an off-campus private accommodation are locked in a dispute with the university over a policy adopted last year, prohibiting them from using unaccredited private residences unless those accredited are full.

Mahlatse Moloto, chairperson of management housing committee at TUT Soshanguve, said students staying in non-accredited private accommodation have not been paid  their accommodation allowances since the start of the academic year.

“Last year, there was a problem of accommodation and we had a protest and a consensus was reached that students who are not staying in university-owned residences and are staying with their landlords must submit a lease agreement to the university’s financial aid office and their accommodation allowances will be released,” said Moloto.

“There is a policy that says students should stay in university-accredited buildings and fill them up. Those students who are not staying in university-accredited buildings have not been paid their accommodation allowances for seven months,” he added.

Last year, TUT’s executive management committee took a decision that only when TUT-owned residences, leased residences and accredited residences have been fully occupied, students residing in non-accredited private accommodation will be considered for NSFAS accommodation allowances.

Moloto said: “I don’t know where this policy was made, by whom, because that policy if it was about us students, we were supposed to be consulted.”

“When we stay in Soshanguve as opposed to the university-owned residences in Pretoria CBD, we buy local and use local transport and uplift the township economy there.”

Kenneth Moabelo, student support service officer of the campus’ student representative council, said the aforementioned policy should be reviewed.

“We need to review that policy and ensure that our students receive their allowances at full capacity,” said Moabelo.

Banele Malefo, president of the institutional student representative council, said “off-campus private accommodation is not safe and conducive for students to stay there”.

University spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said TUT took the decision it took in line with recommendations of the department of higher education and training (DHET).

She said the decision was communicated to every student.

NSFAS administrator Dr Randall Carolissen said according to DHET funding guidelines, students living in university accommodation qualify for the actual costs of the accommodation charged by the institution. "Students living in university-managed off-campus accommodation and students living in private leased accommodation qualify for an accommodation allowance, provided that the accommodation has been accredited by the institution,” Carolissen said.

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