NSFAS spent R2.5 billion from reserves to fund student allowances during lockdown
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Cape Town - The National Student Financial Aid Scheme spent more than R2.5 billion from its reserves to fund student allowances during the extended period of academic year.
This was revealed by NSFAS chief executive NSFAS CEO Andile Nongogo who briefed the higher education and training portfolio committee on Wednesday. He said the bursary fund continued to pay allowances to funded and qualifying students during the lockdown.
Nongogo said students in universities and TVET colleges were in line with applicable allowance thresholds.
“NSFAS wallet was paid by the 25 of the month. Universities not on the NSFAS wallet received remittances within two days of the payment being made by NSFAS so they would in turn make payments to students within five days.”
He told MPs that upon calculation of the amounts involved, they realised the required funding for allowances and accommodation stood at R3.5bn.
"Due to funding shortfall, we ended not having funds for accommodation.”
Nongogo said they found R2.5bn from the reserves and the balance was financed from other sources, including R500m from funds recovered in the repayment of loans.
A total of 493 000 students were funded last year, up from 387 080 in 2019.
Nongogo said R30.8bn was allocated for universities and to date R28.5bn has been paid.
Payments to the tune of R1.3bn were in the pipeline for top-up and additional extended allowances to be paid in March.
The remaining balance of R800m has been set out for a close-out report and any other issues that may arise.
He said there were 486 682 registered, and 387 664 were continuing students and 186 755 were new students.
Nongogo also said there were 1 558 students who await payment while NSFAS awaits explanation on the appeals.
“Institutions did not provide the required documents to substantiate the rejection or approval of appeals. We are engaging the institutions and we given the process until March to complete this exercise,” he said.
Nongogo also said the R6.3bn allocation to TVET colleges included the extra R455m taken from savings to fund the extended academic year.
“NSFAS had to look in its reserves. This was money earmarked for laptops,” he said.
“We paid R6bn to TVET colleges. There are 10 704 students stuck in wallet mismatch due to ID and cellphone mismatch or fraudulent activities.”
He also said there was a total number of 275 186 registered and funded students with only 264 000 paid to date.