Hiccups with NSFAS online application

By Chulumanco Mahamba Time of article published Jan 6, 2022

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NSFAS applicants are anxious as they continue to experience challenges while applying for funding just days before the 2022 application deadline looms.

The clock is ticking for South Africans to get their shot at NSFAS funding and apply as the applications close midnight today.

However, several applicants are anxious about whether they will get their shot after apparently experiencing challenges when applying online for funding for the 2022 academic year.

A former pupil from Allen Glen High School in Roodepoort, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Star that he registered for funding on the NSFAS website in November and he received confirmation that he had been successfully registered for funding.

The matriculant was applying for funding to study design at Vaal University of Technology (VUT).

“The next step was for him to upload certain documents to support his application for funding. But when he tried to do that, the system was unresponsive. As a result, the documents could not be uploaded,” his father said.

Due to the challenges he was facing, he subsequently made calls to the scheme’s toll free number seeking assistance, but received no joy.

“I phoned them and they told me that they were closed and they will open on January 4,” he said.

“Applications were given a very short window to submit their applications. But during this short window, staff went on Christmas holidays, with no one to man the dysfunctional website,” his father added.

On Tuesday, when the student tried again to upload his supporting document, he once again had no luck.

“With the applications closing (today), he is anxious that his application will be deemed incomplete or unsuccessful and will, as a result, be unable to pursue his studies when higher education institutions open their doors in a month or so,” the father said.

The applicant said he then went on social media and found that there were many people who were also experiencing challenges and the clock is ticking.

Many of the applicants shared screenshots of a message they received when trying to apply which said, “The server has encountered an unexpected error and we cannot process your request.” The NSFAS twitter page suggested they don’t use the Telkom network to apply as a result of the message.

“I have been trying to complete my application for a month now but it has been telling me that the server has encountered an error and they cannot process my request. Please help me. I really need to apply before it's too late,” @Funzy332 pleaded.

Another user @shescryptic_ complained about the same issue as the Allen Glen High School applicant who also couldn’t upload their supporting documents.

NSFAS spokesperson Papama Mpupa told The Star that the scheme would revert back with comment. However no such comment was forthcoming by publication.

“I’m worried because this is the only funding that I can get and the close date is near, but nothing has been processed and nothing is happening. It’s a big problem,” the applicant said.

@Chulu_M

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