Cape Town - The South African Union of Students (SAUS) has given the National Treasury and Cabinet until Friday to fund the R9.6 billion funding shortfall at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
In a statement released on Monday, the student union said that it was disappointed to learn that the delays in funding decisions for both prospective students and returning students are because of the R9.6 billion funding shortfall at the financial aid scheme.
“As we speak, except for some Sassa recipients, all students funding decisions have been withheld by NSFAS; these include returning students who had been funded in the previous academic year and first-time applicants. The devastating impact of this has been that while the children of the rich are registering and taking up already minimal spaces in universities, the children of the poor and working-class are waiting destitute on the sideline,” the union said.
“We are therefore making an urgent and solemn call to the National Treasury and cabinet, that they may within the confines of their regressive, anti-poor and anti-working class posture, find it within themselves to release the funding needed for poor and working-class students to access their basic constitutional right to education in line with governments previous commitments and policies,” they added.
SAUS has also given NSFAS 48-hours to confirm funding for all returning students who have met the necessary requirements. They said that whether there was a funding shortfall or not, the students had to be funded until the conclusion of their enrolled programmes.
They have also expressed their frustration with the funding appeals process, describing it as a “snail-paced” process.
“Also, we are annoyed by the delay of the appeals process by NSFAS, and as the union of students, we will not tolerate this laziness and snail pace approach on the conclusion of appeals. We are clear in saying that appeals must be opened and run concurrently with the process of funding decisions,” they said.
Among the exhaustive list of demands, the union said that it is calling for universities to scrap out, or the least, extend registration fee deadlines until the NSFAS funding issues have been resolved.