The annual budget speech has brought good news for students and academic institutions. Delivered by finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in Parliament earlier today, the speech has included an increase in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
In 2017/2018 the NSFAS budget will increase to R11,9 billion from R9,2 billion in 2014/2015 helping to ease the funding crisis currently facing students across the country.
“We are mindful of the pressures on student financing at our higher education institutions… This will support a further increase in university enrolments and in technical and vocational colleges,” Nene said.[READ THE FULL BUDGET SPEECH]
In addition, the finance minister has proposed an infrastructure budget of R10,5 billion for all universities, “including R3,2 billion for the new universities of Mpumalanga and Sol Plaatje”. The subsidies universities receive from government will amount to R72,4 billion overall.
Relief for students needing funding
Earlier this year 2788 Wits University students were unable to register after they were denied NSFAS funding.
At the time the vice-chancellor Prof Habib admitted in a statement: “Despite this [increase in NSFAS funding], the demand for financial aid still outstrips the availability of funds dedicated to higher education study.”
The Wits Student Representatives Council (SRC) campaigned to raise R1-million in one month for the students and last week succeeded in surpassing this goal in just 14 days reaching R1,7 million.