South Africa

HIGHER EDUCATION

NSFAS allowances to increase by 5%, says Blade Nzimande

NSFAS allowances to increase by 5%, says Blade Nzimande
Minister Blade Nzimande during a National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) media briefing on the state of readiness for the 2023 academic year at Ronnie Mamoepa Media Centre on 31 January 2023 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / OJ Koloti)

At a press briefing on Tuesday, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, announced that all allowances granted by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme would be increased by 5%. 

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has increased student allowances by 5% to account for higher costs of living after the 2022 Consumer Price Index showed inflation was 6.9%.  

NSFAS-funded students at universities will receive the following allowances: 

  • Students in university accommodation with catering will receive a R5,460 learning materials allowance and an accommodation allowance capped at R61,500.
  • Students in self-catering university accommodation will receive a learning materials allowance to the value of R5,460 and a R16,500 per annum living allowance, with an accommodation allowance capped at R45,000.
  • Students living with relatives (not in private accommodation) will receive a learning materials allowance of R5,460 as well as a R16,500 per annum living allowance.
  • Students in private off-campus accredited accommodation will receive a learning materials allowance of R5,460, a R16,500 per annum living allowance and an accommodation allowance capped at R45,000. 

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At a press briefing on Tuesday, Higher Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande noted that living allowances had increased by 10% from last year. 

“Let me indicate that our living allowance increment across the board will be R1,650 per month, which is a 10% increment as compared to the 2022 figure. This increase is above inflation, taking into account that for the [past] three years there has been no increase,” the minister stated. 

He also discussed Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, which focus on developing functional skills within a skilled trade for students. Allowances for TVET colleges are as follows: 

  • Students in TVET college-owned catered residences will receive an accommodation allowance to the value of R54,045 per annum.
  • Students in TVET college-managed, owned and leased self-catered accommodation will for the first time receive a living allowance of R6,000 as well as a personal care allowance of R3,045 and a maximum of R45,000 plus living allowance paid to the TVET college.
  • Students in private accommodation will receive a R6,000 living allowance, a R3,045 personal care allowance and a R45,000 per annum accommodation allowance.
  • Students residing less than 10km from the college will receive a R6,000 living allowance, a R3,045 personal care allowance and a R7,718 travel allowance.

 This briefing comes a week after Nzimande addressed the public about the department’s readiness for the 2023 academic year. In that briefing, on Tuesday, 23 January, Nzimande announced that universities must allow NSFAS students to register without paying registration fees upfront. NSFAS will pay these fees directly to the university on 6 February and students should not be barred from registering at any institution — as happened in previous years.  

Unsuccessful NSFAS applicants have a window to appeal against this decision by submitting relevant supporting documents between 20 January and 20 February.  

Nzimande said the government was committed to transforming the tertiary education system and ensuring students were not excluded from higher learning. 

“It is not an option for our post-school education and training system to remain the preserve of only those who can afford to pay. In a deeply unequal society like that of South Africa, something significant needed to be done,” he said. DM 

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