NSFAS Facing A Shortfall On It’s Funding For 2021. In a media briefing on Monday, Higher Education minister Blade Nzimande announced that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) does not have sufficient funding for the 2021 academic year.
According to the minister, this lack of money means that the NSFAS has not yet been able to confirm funding eligibility for first-time entering students wishing to study in public universities in 2021.
“NSFAS is facing a shortfall on its funding for 2021, which means that it has been unable to confirm funding for new university students,” he said.
Nzimande said that there are few reasons why the scheme is facing this shortfall. Covid-19 is one of the main reasons there is a shortfall in funding. However, Nzimande says work is continuing to ensure that funds are approved.
“We had to continue to pay NSFAS allowances even at the time when universities were closed, as part of students’ access to multimodal teaching and learning….This means we had an extended academic year which we did not allocate additional money for. Secondly, we had budget cuts across government department,” he said.
NSFAS had a budget of nearly R35bn in 2020, up from R32bn in the previous year. It funded 700,000 students in 2020. Nzimande was unable to confirm if it would fund more or fewer students this year.
However, NSFAS will continue funding for all existing recipients, who have met requirements for this academic year.