NSFAS reaches out to private sector amid financial uncertainty

Management says the student funding program faces a number of challenges, such as its administrative budget, which does not match the growth of the organization.

FILE: Students are requested to sign loan agreements when they receive funding confirmation from Nsfas to avoid delays in receiving stipends. Photo: EWN.

CAPE TOWN – The management of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) say they know what to do but simply cannot afford to do it.

They say the student funding program faces a number of challenges, such as its administrative budget, which does not match the growth of the organization.

On Friday, the NSFAS briefed Parliament on its audit action plan and the issues raised by the Auditor General.

The student financial aid scheme, which received around 1 million applications from disadvantaged students this year, briefed MPs on some of the issues plaguing the entity.

President Ernest Khoza told the Higher Education Portfolio Committee that the problems facing the NSFAS could destabilize the higher education sector.

CEO Andile Nongongo went further saying they simply couldn’t afford it and asked for help from the private sector.

“It’s a case where we know what to do, but we don’t have the means to do it. However, as stated earlier, we have realized that we cannot wait for money that is not there. We are currently exploring innovative ways to get industry or service providers to develop systems [for us] at the risk of paying us in peace the meal where we can.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande told the National Assembly this week that the NSFAS had succeeded in ensuring that no student was left without funding, with more than 700,000 students helped.

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