Applicants were given more time to submit final results as a result of the 2020 academic year ending later than usual.
Honours students who applied for funding from the National Research Foundation (NRF), who need Wits accredited student accommodations are struggling to secure a place in residences as they are still waiting for their application outcomes.
In a tweet posted on January 13, the NRF announced that the outcomes of honours applications would be delayed due to the 2020 academic year ending later than normal. “The NRF is allowing 2021 honours applicants more time to submit their final marks. Please keep an eye on your emails for potential communication from your institution. The release of honours outcomes will be moved provisionally to April 2021,” the NRF tweet said.
The NRF is a research body that funds postgraduate studies in science, engineering, technology, humanities and social sciences. According to the NRF funding policy, accommodation allowances are limited to the maximum cost of the equivalent university–owned on-campus accommodation where a student is registered.
Although the Wits academic programme is being conducted online through the learning management system, Ulwazi, some students need accommodation as living conditions at home make it difficult to study.
Thandolwaphakade Dlamini (25), a psychology honours student and NRF applicant, is among those that require accommodation. Dlamini lives in a three-roomed house with her family in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. “I can only start studying at midnight because when they watch television, I cannot do anything until they sleep,” she says.
For others, such as Siwongiwe Makhuphula (26), who is an honours student in African literature, even though he has partial sponsors, he says he would like to use funds from NRF to cover some of his accommodation costs.
While applying for NRF does not guarantee funding, students are eager to know where they stand financially for the 2021 academic year. “This delay comes with a lot of anxiety as it is not nice to not know and not be secure,” says Dlamini.
Since the tweet in January, the NRF has advised students through Twitter and Facebook to be in contact with their designated authorities at their respective institutions for any updates on the matter.
In a Facebook post responding to a query on March 28, the NRF said the University of Johannesburg had received some responses for applications in March but was still waiting for the rest.
FEATURED IMAGE: A student stands outside the Financial Aid and Scholarship office. Photo: Semakaleng Motsoere
• Wits Vuvuzela, NRF rating for physiotherapy professor, April, 2019.