Students wishing to enroll in public tertiary institutions will have to pay for themselves or wait for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to confirm the availability of funding before the registration deadline.
Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande on Monday said the scheme faced a financial shortfall caused by the Covid-19 crisis and the country’s dire economic outlook.
He added that recent budget cuts have also had an impact on funding.
“NSFAS has not yet been able to confirm funding eligibility for first-time students wishing to study in our public universities and colleges in 2021I,” said Nzimande.
— HigherEduTrainingZA (@HigherEduGovZA) March 8, 2021
Nzimande said the situation was not only hard for the students but also applied strain on institutions as they are unable to finalise their admissions and registration processes.
“We are doing everything possible to resolve this issue as a matter of extreme urgency and we are hopeful in the light of the commitment by the minister of finance that no deserving student will actually be turned away if they meet the requirements,” Nzimande said.
“In terms of the laws and policies regulating public finances for departments and entities, including the Public Finance Management Act, NSFAS is not able to commit to funding students without the requisite budget available to support this commitment.”
To accommodate students still waiting for their fate Nzimande said the registration deadline would be extended for at least another two weeks.
[Watch Live] Minister Blade Nzimande briefs media on funding decisions for 2021 https://t.co/XandDpdqA1
— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) March 8, 2021