Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande. Jairus Mmutle/GCIS
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande. Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

NSFAS receives R6 billion from reprioritisation of budget

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Mar 11, 2021

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Cape Town – Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said on Thursday Cabinet has agreed funding be reprioritised from the department’s budget to ensure all deserving students received funding in 2021.

The move would see about R6 billion found in order to supplement the budget of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

“Further reprioritisation can only be considered as part of medium term budget process of government, which takes place later this year,” Nzimande said.

The decision comes after the NSFAS could not make funding decisions on first-year students due to budget shortfalls.

This led to the department instructing universities to delay the registration of first-year students by two weeks and allow all returning NSFAS beneficiaries to register if they met academic criteria of progression.

The bursary had experienced budget cuts and was impacted by Covid-19 due to the extended academic year.

Nzimande said universities had agreed to extend the registration process to ensure students without a funding decision would not be disadvantaged.

Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said Cabinet has directed further work be done to find a sustainable approach to fund students for their tertiary education.

“Cabinet remains committed in ensuring that deserving students are not excluded due to lack of funding.”

Nzimande said a comprehensive review of student funding and policy was urgently required and the department would immediately commence with the work and report back to Cabinet.

“The purpose of this process is to look carefully at funding requirements to support students in financial need in the post-school education and training.”

Political Bureau

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