Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande revealed on Saturday that R47 billion in student funding has been disbursed for the year through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to aid more than 700 000 students.
Nzimande was speaking to the media during a DHET academic day at the St Simon’s Anglican Church in Lamontville, south of Durban.
The minister said that for those students who do not qualify for NSFAS, the department is working towards developing an affordable loan scheme.
Nzimande said the department is in talks with the financial sector on the loan scheme, which is likely to benefit lower to middle income households.
He said all students who qualify for NSFAS will receive support.
“Those who do not qualify for NSFAS, like if you come from a family that earns around R350 000 per annum, you don’t qualify for NSFAS. If you are earning R450 000 per annum it's difficult for you to afford university.
“So what we are looking at is an affordable loan scheme for those who fall outside of the government’s policy in that department. That’s why we are having discussions with financial institutions, which we started last year, to actually work towards seeing if we can have an affordable loan scheme.
“Government’s programme targets certain people. Not everybody qualifies for a social grant, not everybody qualifies for a housing assistance from government. In higher education, it's the same. We only have up to a particular limit but we are aware of those students who are struggling. I can’t guarantee that they won’t go on strike,” Nzimande said.