On Monday, Fomer chairperson of Unisa Tshwane SRC, Simamkele Yonga Xani, joined Daily Thetha to give people a clear understanding of National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), plan potential solutions to the lack of adequate funding and examine the issue of students having to pass 75% of their modules in order to continue being funded by NSFAS.

By NSFAS, we refer to a South African government student financial aid which provides financial support to undergraduate students to help with the cost of their tertiary education. It is funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training.    

It was to be expected that the proposal by NSFAS that students it funds should pass at least 75% of their modules would cause fierce arguments all around the country. Spokesperson of the South African students Union, Asive Dlanjwa, said that he thinks that this decision proposed by NSFAS is unscientific and was not a good thought because it is only going to plunge majority of poor students.

In November 2021, NSFAS made the suggestion in a document it presented during a consultative session regarding new funding policy, which was attended by student leaders from 26 public universities. If the proposal gets approved and adopted, it would mean that students dependent on and funded by the scheme will have to pass 75% of their modules in order to continue being funded by NSFAS.

“I feel as if Unisa students along with TVET colleges students are being discriminated to a large extent because we find that university students from institutions like University of Johannesburg receive more funding than Unisa students,” said Xani.

In its  presentation NSFAS said: “This requirement will become effective as of the 2023 academic year. This means that continuing students who are not first-time entering students in 2022 must achieve a 75% course pass rate for their 2022 studies in order to qualify as an eligible continuing student. Students who fail to meet this requirement will be allowed to appeal subjects to the appeal criteria as specified in the policy standard.”

Xani said that he thinks that after graduating, students should not pay back the money that they received from NSFAS. He furthermore added that the government should prioritise were they invest because it is better to have unemployed graduates rather than unemployed citizens. To watch the full NSFAS discussion video, catch it on their Facebook live stream:  https://fb.watch/aAVevHZlBk/

By Ntombikayise Madlala

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