The number of college and university students who can get grants from NSFAS has been on the rise. There are, however, a number of risks that could materialize in the coming year. According to data collected by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), the percentage of postsecondary students who are eligible for financial aid has increased.
The increase in eligible students will be covered by the allotted budget, but the financial aid provider has acknowledged that there is still a problem with accurately forecasting the costs needed to finance students enrolled in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges.
The number of students who can receive NSFAS bursaries is expected to rise by 7 percent over the next academic year.
Universities South Africa (USAf) requested a meeting with key stakeholders after raising many concerns about the proposed changes to the way NSFAS will conduct its business in 2023, and these concerns were aired at a Parliamentary Meeting in November 2022.
In order to assess and debate the level of readiness for the upcoming academic year, representatives from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the Parliamentary Committee of South Africa, and other stakeholders were present.
The 2023 academic year’s set of rules, as authorized by NSFAS earlier this year, will be submitted to Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande for final approval.
If accepted, the draft guidelines will affect both students and the administration of bursary monies.
Concerns were voiced by USAf over intentions by financial aid providers to charge students for banking cards and services that are presently free, to limit financial aid for housing, and to accredit student housing independently of institutions.
According to NSFAS, 2023 will be a “delay-free” year for the organization.
The following 2023 NSFAS forecasts were provided:
There will be 559 226 college students in need of financial aid in 2023; this includes 394 115 returning students and 165 111 first-time applicants. This means that the total cost to the Department will be R39,138,662,187, or R69,987 per student.
An estimated R8 855 149 104 is required to fund 337 224 TVET students.
337 224 students, up from 227 110 in 2022, were predicted to be eligible for TVET Bursaries during the conference. According to projections, the number of eligible students will increase by 48%, leading to an R1.9 billion shortfall for TVET programs.
However, we have enough money stashed away from last year to handle this.
The financial aid entity also proposed direct payments to beneficiaries, to avoid the continuing problem of late payments by institutions, which has often resulted in many unrests from frustrated students.
In terms of the budget projections for the 2023 academic year, based on the projected figures for universities, NSFAS will require R3.5 billion to cover the beginning-of-year allowances for three months (February to April 2023); this includes allowances for medical students that should be paid in January.
For TVET Colleges, projections include tuition and allowances and colleges require upfront tuition for cash flow purposes at the beginning of the year.
In order for the disbursement to take effect at the beginning of the academic year, TVETs need R1.9 billion in December and R5.4 billion at the very latest by December 2022/January 2023.
With the help of NSFAS, you can access additional funding sources and get paid back down the line.