South Africa plans 75% ‘laissez-passer’ for student funding from 2023

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is currently holding consultations with stakeholders on the proposed eligibility criteria and conditions for the entry into force of the financial aid from the 2022 academic year.

According to the NSFAS, certain transitional arrangements would be implemented in 2023.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the entity noted that NSFAS Law 56 of 1999 directs the board of directors to develop criteria and conditions for the award of scholarships to eligible students, in consultation with the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, among other provisions.

“The Board believes that for NSFAS to be an effective and efficient provider of financial assistance in a sustainable and responsive manner, all stakeholders must be involved. It is for this reason that for the very first time, NSFAS is consulting all relevant stakeholders on proposed funding guidelines.

“Stakeholders consulted include student leadership, university rectors, college directors of technical and vocational education and training (TVET), certain spheres of government and others.

“All contributions from these stakeholders will be reflected in the outcome document which will be presented to the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation for consideration,” said NSFAS.

NSFAS said under normal circumstances it would not have communicated to the public until the consultation process was completed and the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation had reflected on proposed reforms.

The entity said, however, that the ongoing consultation process for proposed policy changes in 2022 was not complete.

“More actors in the higher education sector are consulted [and] all stakeholders have the opportunity to contribute, and the process is ongoing. All contributions will be taken into account and recommendations will be made to the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation.

Proposed 75% progression rule

Explaining the proposed 75% progression rule, which was reported in the media earlier this week, the entity said the proposed policy was to encourage students to pass their courses and / or modules, and only with ” the passing mark ”.

“The proposed policy, if implemented, would only apply from the 2023 academic year and would not apply to students entering higher education for the first time, also known as FTEN students. . This is in recognition of the transition many students make from high school to university.

“It should be noted that NSFAS funds students who might not otherwise be able to access higher education to ensure that they qualify and ultimately contribute to the economy.

“Therefore, these progression criteria aim to ensure that students complete their qualifications on time to ensure a return on investment and provide more opportunities for deserving students,” said NSFAS.

He said all other matters contained in the proposed funding guidelines, including student accommodation, are subject to consultative processes.

“All of these political considerations are aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the program and the well-being of the students, to ensure their success.

“In this case, the entity has the South African Union of Students on the proposed guidelines and as an entity we are awaiting their submission,” said NSFAS.

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