Students dealing with daily consequences of a chaotic NSFAS

Students dealing with daily consequences of a chaotic NSFAS.
Students dealing with daily consequences of a chaotic NSFAS.
Image: STOCK IMAGE

Whenever National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) officials appear before parliament, they present shocking figures of delays and mismanagement in a sombre yet somewhat detached manner.

Missing from the conversation about data integration problems, processing errors, paperwork and contracts, is an awareness of the problems students who have not received their promised funding face. Students should be worried about passing exams and writing essays. They should not have to worry where their next meal will come from. This is the reality of so many students: sleeping in corridors or ramshackle residences, relying on the donation box for food, cramming into tiny bathrooms for access to a basin.

The ANC - whose wayward former president made the last-minute announcement that threw the system into chaos - has nothing to say on the failure of NSFAS to disburse funding to 75000 students. The expansion of higher education funding was a central promise made by the party to try to stem its declining votes, and yet, not a word of apology from its leaders.

What a pity that, instead of building the infrastructure and staff required for such an expansion, the new president simply caved in. Ramaphoria has certainly worn off now, and students are unlikely to tolerate these broken promises for much longer.

Kerry Mauchline

Gardens, Cape Town

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