Pandor speaks up on the progress towards free higher education

Pandor speaks up on the progress towards free higher education

- Pandor stated that there has been an additional R105-million allocated to funding for students

- The NSFAS system integration will be helping in speeding up the process

- 80,000 students will benefit from the funding programs in 2018

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Minister of Higher Education and Training, Naledi Pandor, gave feedback on Tuesday around the progress of the government’s promise of free higher education.

According to Pandor, an additional R105-million has been allocated to funding students from poor and working class families.

“We have allocated an additional R105-million to assist the national student financial aid students (NSFAS) scheme, to strengthen its administrative capacity. Government will support poor and working class students through an expanded bursary scheme which replaces the previous loan and partial bursary…they will be excepted to meet certain conditions (such as) satisfactory academic performance and service conditions.”

Pandor stated that the implementation of the systems between NSFAS and institutions would assist in speeding up the process.

“There are still significant challenges with regard to system integration. This integration process has affected the submission of registration… (It) will also enable NSFAS to generate a bursary agreement form which must be signed by a registered student before funding is allocated (to enable them to ) receive their funding allocation.” learnt that over 80,000 university students are to benefit from the new funding system in 2018.

“All continuing existing NSFAS students will receive their funding in 2018…the new funding allocation for first time entry students is expected to fund approximately 40%...for new entrance at universities in 2018.”

Pandor said that it is unacceptable that some university’s did not have their funding finalized for 2017.

“There’s still some challenges with finalizing the detail of the 2017 intake, especially with qualifying students…some continuing students have not yet had their funding finalized for the 2017 academic year," she said.

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"I find this to be unacceptable and have instructed my department to work with the institutions to deal with the outstanding cases as a matter of urgency.’

Pandor highlighted that there has also been an additional R7.1-billion added to fund bursaries in 2018.

“Additional government funding of R7.166 billion in 2018 has been allocated to fund bursaries for children of poor and working class families entering universities and TVET colleges, with R4.581 billion set aside for qualifying university students and R2.585 billion for TVET college students.”

The hopes of free higher education is looking more positive, but we definitely have a long way to go.

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