NSFAS teams up with Sars to track down defaulters

Defaulting students will have their contact details handed over by tax authorities, Sars to NSFAS for loan repayment purposes.  

NSFAS-Logo

 

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) says it will use personal information obtained from the SA Revenue Service (Sars) to chase people who not heed to their call for repayments of their loans when they get jobs.

Last week, SARS last week permits NSFAS to have access to further non-financial information of former students with unpaid student loans.

“NSFAS will make contact with your employer to confirm employment and then contact you (the debtor) to discuss repayments in line with the signed loan agreement,” said NSFAS spokesperson Kagisho Mamabolo.

The information of those former NSFAS scheme beneficiaries registered with Sars will reveal the ID numbers, addresses, contact details and employers’ names. Sars revealed last week that the new provision falls the Tax Administration Act, which allows SARS to provide other non-financial information such as addresses and other contact details.

Mamabolo said defaults in repayments of loans prompted this move.  “Most debtors were not heeding our call for them to inform us as soon as they find jobs, leading to us struggling to confirm if they are working or not.  Sars will be able to assist us with that information, in cases where the concerned individuals are not coming forward,” said Mamabolo.

Students are required to start repaying their loans if they earn R30 000 or more annually.  Payments start at 3% of debtors’ annual salary, increasing to a maximum of 8% when the salary reaches R59 300 or more per year.

NSFAS said action will be taken against former students who fail to repay while employed as the scheme is a registered credit provider.

“The scheme reserves the right to follow the normal debt recovery process which may lead to action taken against those who fail to repay loans even though they can afford to do so,” said Mamabolo.

Two months ago, minister of higher education and training, Blade Nzimande, said in parliament that NSFAS had spent R41.1-billion in loans and R20.4-billion in bursaries between 2000 and 2015.

In the wake of #FeeMustFall protests, the government raised its contribution towards NSFAS from R6.5-billion in 2015/16 to R11.4-billion this year.  Part of the amount aimed at helping the “missing middle” students, whose parents earned over the required maximum to qualify for the loan, still couldn’t afford the fees.

Tax records, however will not be part of the information given to NSFAS.

 

Related articles:

Wits Vuvuzela; NSFAS repayment for what? 

Wits Vuvuzela; SRC aims to raise one million rand for excluded NSFAS students

Wits Vuvuzela; Wits management and SRC reach agreement on NSFAS

 

What are MOOCs?

Wits will be launching three MOOC courses between August and October this year.  But what exactly are these MOOCs and how do they work? 

edX photo

MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses are academic or training courses open to an unlimited number of global participants through the internet.  First introduced in 2008 and later developed to its current form in 2012 by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  On this platform, students have access to filmed lectures, readings, problem tests and some provide interactive user forums.  Wits has chosen the edX platform over other popular platforms like Coursera and Udacity.  EdX differs from the other two as it is a non-profit organisation and runs on open-source software which allows copyright holders to share the software with others at no extra cost. Using edX, Wits joined a group of over 40 universities from all over the world including the University of Toronto, Boston University, University of Tokyo and Hong Kong University.

MOOCs are open to anyone with an access to the internet.  “Access to the internet and a computing device and sufficient time to complete the learning activities and course assessments will be required.  Requirements to register for other online courses will vary according to the course”, said Christine Woods, who is the director for the Centre for Learning, Teaching and Development (CLTD) at Wits.

To complete a WitsX MOOC, you need to go to WitsX website, on www.edx.org/school/witsx, choose one out of the three courses that will be on offer this year, click “enrol now” and create their personal account.  Wits has said that students will need to allocate two to four hours per week over six weeks to complete the course.

Wits Vuvuzela; Wits becomes first African partner of leading online course provider

Wits Vuvuzela;  Wits Plus goes digital with Digital Campus

UJ gets interdict against campus protests

The South Gauteng High Court today granted the University of Johannesburg a court interdict prohibiting protest action that contravenes university regulations.

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University of Johannesburg students outside the South Gauteng High Court today. Photo: Sisa Canca.

By Sisa Canca and Nobathembu Zantsi

Twelve University of Johannesburg students have been barred from entering the campus after the institution was granted a provisional interdict against them in the South Gauteng High Court earlier today.

The interdict also prevents “unlawful demonstrations” by protesting students. 

The university’s legal representative, advocate Dirk Vetten, said the university sought court assistance “in drawing the line”, as a result of the increased nature of illegal activities on campus.  The university have charged the twelve suspended students with misconduct relating to a number of incidents on campus. 

Yesterday, the university’s main auditorium was set alight, causing damage worth R100 million according to the statement released by the vice chancellor’s office. No suspects have yet been arrested or identified. 

The judge said there was no evidence before the court proving that the burning of the building was done by the suspended students.

Judge Raylene Keightley gave all  respondents present in court an opportunity to raise their concerns, explaining to the students that the order was for stopping “unlawful” action.

“The interdict prevents protest action that infringes on the right of other students, staff and visitors on campus and the university’s right to protect its property”, said Keightley.

Lindokuhle Xulu, one of the suspended students, opposed the interdict saying it infringes on their right to access education.

 “We are chased away by bouncers every time we try to access campus to study and go to the library. Can the university guarantee us that we will exercise our right to education?” said Xulu.  

Sandile Mdlongwa, one of the suspended students who was arrested last week following therecent  surge in  violent incidents on campus, questioned the validity of the institution blocking their entrance to the university.  

“Is it constitutionally correct for academically deserving students to be deprived of their right to education?” asked Mdlongwa.

Xhamla Songwevu, claimed that unlawful protests happen because the university never grants them as students, permission to protest whenever they apply.

While deliberating on her decision, the judge asked for a provision to be added to the interdict that the suspended students be allowed to approach the institution for re-consideration of their current suspension terms. 

Keightley stressed that the university should allow students access for academic purposes and reconsider the evictions of resident students. 

In addition to protest action, the interdict prohibits activity by any person from blocking university entrances, threats of violence, obstructing the movement of other students, staff and other members of the university community.

The 12 suspended students will face a disciplinary hearing tomorrow in Kempton Park.

Meanwhile, the provisional interdict will remain in force for the next two weeks until the matter returns to court on May 31, 2016.

Related articles:

 

Wits are rugby champs

Wits are the 2016 Varsity Shield champions.

It was an intense season but Wits emerged victorious at the Varsity Shield final by beating their visitors from the western Cape 39-2 at home last night. The team’s performance also sees them moving to the top tier Varsity Cup next year.

The Braamfontein outfit dominated the proceedings in the first 20 minutes, scoring 2 tries in the process, one by scrumhalf Ruan Cloete just 5 minutes into game Kyle Wesemann’s try followed shortly after. The University of Western Cape (UWC) responded with a penalty by flyhalf Aidynn Cupido, the team’s only scoring chance converted for the evening.

After the game was interrupted 23 minutes into the game by a blackout in the area.

After the recommencement, Wits captain Warren Gilbert increased the score through a dropgoal outside the 22 to make it 15-2.  Heading into the half-time break, Graham Logan capitalised on a long rolling maul to give Wits a 23-2 lead.

The second half was less easy for the Wits team who defended their line for the better part of the initial stages.  UWC couldn’t crack the defense though despite a number of abortive attempts.  CJ Conradie put the match beyond UWC’s reach with a clinical try before Constant Beckerling sealed the match with his.

Full time score: FNB Wits 39-02 FNB UWC

Scorers

Wits: 39

Tries: Ruan Cloete, Kyle Wesemann, Graham Logan, CJ Conradie, Constant Beckerling
Conversions: Warren Gilbert (4)
Drop goals: Warren Gilbert

UWC: 2

Penalty: Aidynn Cupido

Teams

Wits

15 Luxolo Ntsepe, 14 Kwanele Ngema, 13 Joshua Jarvis, 12 Kyle Wesemann, 11 Sicelo Champion, 10 Warren Gilbert, 9 Ruan Cloete, 8 Constant Beckerling, 7 Conor Brockschmidt, 6 Ruan MacDonald, 5. Mitchell Fraser, 4 Graham Logan, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 CJ Conradie, 1 Tidje Visser

Replacements

16 Craig Hume, 17 Ameer Willaims, 18 Mitchell Crossman, 19 Ayabulela Mdudi, 20 Wian Coetzee, 21 Thato Marubela, 22 Adriaan van Blerk, 23 Brandon Palmer

UWC

15 Jacquin Moses, 14 Octovane van Staden, 13 Courtney Cupido, 12 Lubabalo Faleni, 11 Minenhle Mthethwa, 10 Aidynn Cupido, 9 Clayton Daniels, 8 Matthew Faught, , 7 Jeremy Papier, 6 Verno Treu, 5 Matthew le Roux, 4 Brandon Valentyn, 3 Tahriq Allen, 2 Peter Wanjiru, 1 Kelvin de Bruyn

Replacements

16 Keenan Douw, 17 Wayron Losper, 18 Sabelo Dlamini, 19 Byron Burgess, 20 Matthew Nortje, 21 Melikhaya Wana, 22 Monre Lingeveldt, 23 Robin Paulse

 

Wits Basketball ladies blaze a trail

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Women in action: Wits ladies taking on Waldorf School in their season opener at Hall 29 on Sunday.                                                                                                                                                Photo: Sisa Canca

Wits Basketball ladies first team started their Inner City Super League (ISCL) season campaign with a 64-30 win against Waldorf School on Sunday morning. 
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