Director General of Higher Education and Training Gwebs Qonde told a workshop in Pretoria this year that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) planned to follow through with their plans for a Central Application system in 2014.

What this means is that institutions of higher learning, like Wits, will lose their power to decide on student loans. The new system will allow students to apply for financial aid either directly to NSFAS or a central body created for this purpose.

The system aims to create and maintain effective admin to improve student’s access to NSFAS through direct forms of communication like cellphones, the internet and social media. Money will be paid directly into the accounts of students for transport, accommodation, tuition and food, and by so doing NSFAS will be keeping a close watch on expenditure.

Qonde said that NSFAS was inefficient because its systems were outdated and they needed to be adapted as a result of corrupt and inefficient officials in some institutions. The programme will ultimately reposition the whole of NSFAS to provide more effective financial aid that is able to cover more students and improve the recovery rate for the loans thus allowing NSFAS to fulfill its mandate.

However some officials doubt the proposed new system because thousands of beneficiaries do not complete their courses. NSFAS plans to counter this situation with supporting programmes in collaboration with universities and other stakeholders to give students the best chance of graduating.

Wits Vuvuzela asked the Manager of Financial aid and Scholarships at Wits, Busisiwe Sithole, for comment on the new system. She declined to comment stating, “I do not have answers or comments on the New Centralized system as we have not started to use it.”

Additional Resources

Wits Vuvuzela March 28 2011: Financial Aid Funding late again

Wits Vuvuzela March 26 2012: No money, no food