MORE than 2-million students studying at South Africa’s public universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges have been funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) since 2013.
This was announced by Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande this week. He said in 2013 the number of supported students was 194 923, in 2014 it was 186 150 and it was 178 961 in 2015 and 244 488 in 2016. These were students in universities. Nzimande said in TVET colleges in 2013 220 978 students were supported, 228 642 in 2014 and 235 988 in 2015 and 225 864 in 2016.
“In addition, 194 353 university students have so far been supported in the 2017 academic year, with 78 413 covering first time entrances and 115 940 for returning students. It is also envisaged that college funding decisions for the current academic year will be concluded at the end of this month with 123 332 students already receiving support,” Nzimande said.
He said it was important to note that figures would increase after the conclusion of all the pending funding decisions. “In this regard, NSFAS has employed additional resources to expedite the process,” Nzimande said. He restated government’s commitment to finding the resources to support the children of all the poor, working and middle class families in their quest to better their lives and those of their families through skills acquisition.