As protests against lack of higher education funding mounted in Gauteng, the Durban University of Technology (DUT) announced students could register once their National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding status was confirmed.
“The university had previously submitted the entire list of first-time entry students to NSFAS, seeking feedback on the confirmation status of the applicants who require funding support.
“As has been the case since about 2018, the university can only allow students to register once their funding status has been confirmed by NSFAS,” university spokesperson Alan Khan said.
“Those applicants who may be affected by this, will not forfeit their firm offer as a result of the NSFAS delay.
“With regard to returning students, all returning and qualifying NSFAS-funded students (based on assessment of their eligibility for further NSFAS funding in 2021) will be unblocked, irrespective of whether they have fees outstanding as a result of non-payment by NSFAS,” he added.
The contentious issue of funding took centre stage again this week when students at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) took to the streets of Johannesburg, protesting against mounting historical debt and being barred from registering again.
Ntumba had just walked out of a doctor’s consultation room and into De Beer Street when a police nyala pulled up with armed police shooting rubber bullets across the pavement.
Ntumba was shot twice in the upper body at point blank range. Several students were injured.
The DUT management further extended the registration deadline by two weeks to 26 March. The new academic year has seen fewer new student admissions, Khan said.
“Whilst several returning students have successfully completed the online registration process, the registration numbers for first-time entry students are below the projected levels.
“Due to the registration challenges, EMC and Senex approved the proposal to extend the current registration period by two weeks, to now end on Friday, 26 March 2021.”
Due to registration problems encountered by first-time students, DUT said it has resolved to allow the students access to registration facilities at the institution.
Khan said officials would grant permits to students to allow access to its registration facilities.
“As a result of the Covid-19 restrictions and protocols, DUT will not allow any unannounced visits and access, without permits having been granted in advance.
“DUT will not be accepting walk-ins since applications for admission in 2021 closed last year. Those students who will be granted permits to access registration facilities will need to adhere to the Covid-19 public health guidelines.”
As the student protests intensified, government made a U-turn on Friday, announcing that Cabinet approved R42.1 billion for the 2021 academic year.
Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said most of the money would fund qualifying first-time students.