Sol Plaatje University in Kimberley Picture: Facebook
Kimberley - Registration for new students at the Sol Plaatje University (SPU) in Kimberley will take place at the end of January.

Professor Yunus Ballim, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of SPU, said on Monday that the registration of new first-year students would take place on January 28 and 29 and returning students thereafter. The academic year will start on Monday, February 4.

Ballim said that, as in the past, the university would accept walk-in applications.

“We are asking late applicants to show proof of likely funding for their studies - for example, NSFAS application or self-funding arrangements.”

Ballim added that the number of regular applicants, who applied before the closing date, had grown.

“This is positive since we expect to grow the total student enrolment at SPU from 1 560 in 2018 to around 2 100 in 2019. This means that accounting for graduates and drop-outs, we expect to have room for around 900 new students. This will include students who will join our Honours Degree and Postgraduate Diploma programmes as the first postgraduate students at SPU.”

He stated further that the Bachelor of Education and Heritage Studies programmes were well subscribed by applicants and it was likely that the university would fill its seats in these qualifications.

“On the other hand, we are likely to still have space in the Bachelor of Commerce and Retail Business Management Diploma programmes and, where applicants meet the necessary academic requirements, we are accepting applications into these programmes.”

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has meanwhile announced that it will no longer communicate directly with students via SMS during the 2019 academic year.

The decision, said NSFAS in a statement last week, was effective immediately.

The student financial aid scheme said it has also advised students to only use the myNSFAS online self-service portal to view application status or any other information relating to funding.

The move came after the scheme was targeted in phishing email and text message scams that aim to compromise personal data.

“NSFAS identified scams in which fraudsters lure students into providing confidential information via a link to a site controlled by the attackers. The email or text message scam is designed to look like it is a regular message issued by the NSFAS contact centre,” the scheme said in the statement.

NSFAS said the unidentified attackers were posing as NSFAS representatives and sending out emails requesting applicants and progressing students to update their account information by clicking on an embedded link.

“We would like to warn all the applicants, students and parents to be aware of these fraudsters and take extra care when dealing with their personal information online or over the phone. Any SMS messaging regarding funding received following this message will be from fraudsters and not NSFAS,” the scheme said.

NSFAS administrator Dr Randall Carolissen said the scheme was seeing an increase in fraudulent activities, possibly due to the increase in the number of applications for 2019.

“We advise every student that NSFAS will never ask for your account details, password, PIN or OTP over the phone or via email,” he said.

“Henceforth, NSFAS will only communicate with applicants and progressing students via the myNSFAS Online Self-Service Portal or via the NSFAS Contact Centre. Call Centre Agents will ensure that suitable precautions are being taken and key security questions are asked to positively identify the person contacted and to build trust.

“Other official notices will be published on the NSFAS official website www.nsfas.org.za or the official Twitter page @mynsfas,” NSFAS said. It added that it was working with the law enforcement agencies to investigate the matter.

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