The National Student Financial Scheme (NSFAS) has announced that funding applications for 2024 are expected to open next week.
The announcement comes after students expressed concern over the what they said was the late opening of applications this year and claimed was fertile grounds for instability in institutions of higher learning in the new year.
According to the entity, funding applications for 2024 were expected to open on November 21, 2023 and close on January 31, 2024.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said this was to afford the beneficiary shorter turn-around times for decision making, which is aligned to the financial eligibility assessment which requires updated South African Revenue Service (SARS) information.
“NSFAS is awaiting Sars completion of its tax period and to enable NSFAS to have the necessary and updated information available during our application season. We encourage all students who wish to study in the post school education and training sector higher education and training space to ensure that they apply on time.
“It is also important that students note that they don’t need results when they are entering post school education and training for the first time. Furthermore, NSFAS is engaged in conversation with the Department of Basic Education to improve the application validation processes including verifying parental relationships and all these improvements will ensure that funding decisions are confirmed timeously,” NSFAS said.
Nzimande said Sassa beneficiaries will receive immediate funding decisions, no additional supporting documents will be required except for the learners with disabilities and all rejected applicants will have the opportunity to appeal.
He urged all eligible students who aim to pursue higher education in universities or colleges to apply within the specified time frame.
According to the South African Union of Students (SAUS) NSFAS was expected to open the applications on October 1.
“This undoubtedly is not only a cause for concern but a crisis, because it guarantees us that NSFAS will most definitely not be ready for the start of the academic year 2024, further plunging the sector into instability and a crisis,” they said.