Prospective journalists, doctors and accountants are among some of the Witsies who might see their dreams deferred for lack of funding from NSFAS.
Witsie Anelisa Tuswa told Wits Vuvuzela that she was accepted into Journalism Honours at the university but may not be able to take up her place because her NSFAS application is still pending.
Tuswa has been on financial aid since her first year and receiving funding had never been a problem before.
“My mom is a domestic worker who works only three days a week and NSFAS have never been hesitant to accept me. They always gave me the full package – accommodation, food and tuition.”
Tuswa has no other funding options and if “NSFAS doesn’t fix this” she will not be able to continue her studies.
Wits Vuvuzela spoke with Marvin Mhlanga, a third year BCom Accounting student, who applied last year for NSFAS 2015 but has not yet received an outcome on his financial aid request.
“Scholarships grant me funding and some study loans require someone to pay monthly or someone to pay a certain amount monthly and my single mother can’t afford that,” Mhlanga said.
Mhlanga added that he fears he won’t be able to “raise the money needed to pay for the registration fee”.
A fifth year medical student who wished to remain anonymous said he could not return to his classes because his NSFAS funding had not come through .
“Medical School started on January 5. I could not return because I was unable to register,” he said. “I don’t have the money to pay the registration fees. How am I supposed to continue?”
A second issue facing NSFSA applicants at Wits is loss of documents.
Vice-Chancellor of Academics Prof Andrew Crouch partially blamed last years postal strike for missing documents.
“Some students sent in their NSFAS applications by post and due to the strike we were unable to receive them. Some applications have only been received now months after they were sent to Wits,” he said.
Wits LLB student Andile Mbhele applied for NSFAS funding at Wits to continue his degree in 2015. Mbhele said he had not heard back from Wits and when he called them on Monday the university said “the document was missing”.
“When I asked them if I could resend the missing document, they told me it was too late,” he said. “How am I going to finish my degree with no funding?”
Mbhele said that NSFAS is his “last option” to continue his studies at Wits.
“All my hopes are with NSFAS,” he said
Wits Vuvuzela: WITS STUDENTS PROTEST NSFAS APPLICATION COMPLICATIONS, January 21, 2015
Wits Vuvuzela: NSFAS STUDENTS STILL ASKED TO COUGH UP AT WITS, January 21, 2015