NSFAS will pay allowances directly to students
Cape Town - The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will pay allowances directly to students instead of using third parties.

The scheme confirmed that it would do away with the voucher system, known as “Sbux” administered by third parties, a move welcomed by the SA Union of Students (SAUS).

NSFAS spokesperson Kagisho Mamabolo said the scheme would disburse funds only in cash to students and universities and TVET colleges, through approved financial institutions.

“NSFAS wants to eradicate the voucher system that compromises choices for our students and limits their financial planning,” Mamabolo said, adding that the planned method would also eliminate payments through SMS and cellphone mechanism which were open to fraud and abuse.

NSFAS came under pressure from the Minister of Higher Education and Training Naledi Pandor, last year after the government’s university and college students funding model grappled with disbursing of money, placing thousands of students in limbo.

By the second term of the last academic year, students complained of not receiving allowances for accommodation, meals, transport, books and other study materials even though they were approved for funding as NSFAS struggled with processing applications.

NSFAS was also cited as lacking technological capacity and this hampered the implementation of free education.

Fasiha Hassan, SAUS deputy president, said the organisation welcomed the new system as it would remove the commercial interests of third parties.

“While some of the companies worked well, others didn’t and there were allegations of corruption and some students being overpaid.

“There should be no entities profiting from the scheme,” she said.

Weekend Argus