“It is only fair that you get your allowance because you are eating somewhere.”

National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funded students at Wits University who live in catered residences will receive a monthly allowance of R1 500 starting in August.

The increase is meant to compensate the students for the meals they would have received in dining halls. The allowance will be paid to students for the months they spent at home, backdated to April 2020, as well as those who have not returned to their respective residences.

Dean of Students, Jerome September, told Wits Vuvuzela that, “Payments will be made on the dates set aside for allowance payments, in line with the processes that are normally followed.” The payments would be administered by the university’s finance department and paid automatically to confirmed NSFAS students.

Randall Carolissen, NSFAS administrator, said, “As a consequence of the covid-19 lockdown USAf (Universities South Africa), in consultation with NSFAS, agreed that for those universities that have NSFAS students in catered residences be paid the same meal allowance applicable to meals for NSFAS students in non-catered university residences.”

Wits SRC treasurer-general, Noluthando Ngcobo, told Wits Vuvuzela that the increase would help students buy food and data whilst at home. “I think it is only fair because if you’re [supposed to be] eating at dining halls and are not able to utilise the dining hall during this period, it is only fair that you get your allowance because you are eating somewhere,” she said.

Kuhlekonke Mhlongo (20), a third-year urban and regional planning student who is currently staying with her uncle’s family in Johannesburg, said she appreciated the increase, as it was hard to make ends meet with just the R290. She added that she would prefer it if her allowance did not revert to the original amount once she returned to residence as she felt she always had to sacrifice one necessity for another.

“For my course I do a lot of drawings and my stationery is really expensive. From the kind of paper we have to use, to the kind of pen. So, with that R290, I would have to decide, do I get my toiletries this month or do I sacrifice and try and get my stationery,” Mhlongo said.

FEATURED IMAGE: The monthly allowance for NSFAS students in catered residences will increase from August. Photo: File