The student was one of thousands that have been waiting for months for word from NSFAS regarding their applications for funding.
A Rhodes University student has won a court case against the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) after it had failed to communicate the outcome of his November 2017 application for funding. The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) which represented second-year BCom student at the Grahamstown High Court, confirmed to Wits Vuvuzela that Njabulo Mavuso had received feedback from NSFAS regarding his application.
“I can confirm that we received a letter from NSFAS with application outcomes for Njabulo Mavuso. Unfortunatley we can’t disclose the status of his application to the public. We are glad NSFAS met the deadline which was set by the high court,” Zimkhitha Mhlahlo, an attorney at the LRC said.
The high court had ordered NSFAS on Tuesday, April 17, to inform Mavuso within a week, the decision on his application for financial aid for the 2018 academic year. According to the LRC, he had struggled to register at the beginning of the year and after emailing NSFAS on various occasions, he still didn’t have a decision.
“The LRC approached the court on an urgent basis for an order in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000, reviewing and setting aside the failure of NSFAS to take a decision in a timeous manner,” read a statement released by the LRC. It continued, “The LRC also sought further structural relief directing NSFAS to inform all students applying for financial aid of a decision within 30 working days of their application and within one month prior to the beginning of the academic year.
“While NSFAS was ordered to communicate a decision to Mr Mavuso within a week, the structural relief has been postponed to a later date to allow NSFAS to take instructions on this issue.”
The Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) welcomed the court order, saying it was a step in the right direction.
“I hope from now on students won’t have to wait for months to know if their applications for funding are successful or not. We have students here [Wits University] who applied for funding but they are still waiting to hear if they will be funded or not,” Wits SRC spokesperson Sandla Mtotywa said.
Bandile Mthethwa, a second-year BSc student at Wits, said he had applied for NSFAS funding in 2017 and submitted all the documents that were required but his application is still being processed.
“When I check my application status it shows that its’s still in process. It’s now five months waiting to hear from NSFAS. My future is hanging, sometimes I even think of dropping out of university and go look for a job. All I need to know is either NSFAS is going to fund my studies or not,” said the 20-year-old.
NSFAS spokesperson Kagisho Mamabolo told Wits Vuvuzela that there are 69 000 applications that NSFAS is still processing and assessing for eligibility. Of these, 37 000 are missing supporting documents.
“In order to fast track the process we have established a task team which will be contacting all these applicants in order to assist them with the uploading of the missing documents. When these applications have been concluded, they will be processed for funding decisions,” Mamabolo said.
In December, former president, Jacob Zuma, announced that the government would subsidise free higher education for poor and working class students from households with a combined annual income of up to R350 000.
FEATURED PHOTO: A student enquires about her NSFAS application at the Wits financial aid and scholarships office. Photo: Takalani Sioga
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