NSFAS increases students 2023 living allowances
Minister of higher education, science and innovation Blade Nzimande concurred with proposals put before him
Wits University students outside the main campus in Johannesburg, 3 March 2023l. students are protesting for lack of support from the university for unhoused students and those with outstanding fees. Picture: Nigel Sibanda
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has announced it will increase students living allowances by 10%.
NSFAS said the increase will be backdated to the beginning of the 2023 academic year.
NSFAS spokesperson Maduvha Maseda said the increase follows Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation Blade Nzimande’s agreement to the proposal that was put before him a few weeks ago.
Nzimande convened the consultations which included inputs from the South African Union of Students (SAUS).
“This is a significant development given the reality that in the past three years, no increment was made on student allowances. This is an effort not only to acknowledge the impact of inflation on students’ livelihood, but a contribution to ease the economic disadvantages suffered by students,” Maseda said.
Maseda said NSFAS will communicate with institutions in the coming weeks on the final implementation dates of the new amendments.
Living and accommodation allowance
The living and accommodation allowance increase will be welcomed by students following volatile protests this month.
Wits University students took to the streets demanding the institution allow students owing R150 000 or less to register for the 2023 academic year, including access to affordable accommodation.
They also took their demonstrations to the private home of Vice Chancellor Zeblon Vilakazi’s “to put pressure” on him to accede to their demands.
Earlier this month, Wits addressed the demand to cover the shortfall created by the R4 500 NSFAS annual cap on accommodation.
The university said it could change NSFAS policies, but accredited providers agreed to host students within cap.
To this end, Wits secured 350 beds plus an additional 150 to assist students in need, particularly 40 vulnerable students who had no place to stay.
On Wednesday, Wits management agreed to enter into mediation with the campus Student Representative Council (SRC) amid the ongoing protests.
The university said the mediation followed last week’s meetings with student leaders after they called a ceasefire at the higher education institution.