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Walter Sisulu University backs NSFAS 75% proposed pass mark

Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Published Dec 17, 2021

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University officials at Walter Sisulu University (WSU) reveal that they support the proposed 75% pass mark by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

WSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Rushiella Songca said that they support the policy in principle, as it is put into place to ensure that our students work even harder to graduate on time.

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“This progression policy and its criteria are aimed at ensuring that students complete their qualifications within the allowable time frame. We want our students to receive the best possible education, exert themselves to make certain that this happens and graduate on time. By graduating on time, they will make room for opportunities for other deserving students,” said Songca.

This policy was put into place after ongoing consultation with student leadership bodies, university chancellors, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college principals and relevant spheres of government.

Students across the county have been perplexed by the newly announced ‘75% pass mark rule’ that is set to come into place. The 75% pass mark rule is to be instituted by the student funding body, NSFAS, will become effective from 2023.

The proposed ‘75% pass mark rule’ is a progression criteria policy which states students have to pass 75% of modules they are registered for to continue to receive funding. This does not mean that students must receive a 75% pass mark for each of the subjects they are currently studying.

The policy will only be applicable to students in their second year of studies and will not be applied to students who are entering higher education for the first time. All other students who are already in higher education will be required to adhere to the rules of this policy.

According to the WSU Student Representative Council (SRC), this rule may result in defunding students in the middle of the year, and it will discourage students from continuing with their studies due to lack of funding.

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“We feel that defunding students in the middle of their academic studies using this policy will disadvantage students more than assist them. This adds historical debt for them for that year and may even discourage them from continuing their studies due to lack of resources. While the idea is sound, perhaps NSFAS needs to consult longer with the relevant student bodies on how it will avoid creating a situation for students that they (NSFAS) were created to prevent.”

The university said it would await further clarity of how NSFAS and other universities will deal with the potential issue of defunded students and the resultant historical debt.

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