Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana: National Student Financial Aid Scheme 25th anniversary commemoration

Media statement by Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mduduzi Manana on National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) 25th anniversary commemoration, NSFAS Head Offices, Cape Town

Good afternoon,

NSFAS CEO, Mr Msulwa Daca,

NSFAS Management and Staff,

NSFAS Ambassadors,

Ministry of Higher Education officials,

Ladies and gentlemen of the media.

Today I am visiting the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) offices to be with team as the institution commemorates the 25 years of its existence. NSFAS has been a cornerstone of our nation's transformation in higher education, as well as a source of our people's academic development.

We are now celebrating 25 years of consistent public service to our people through this entity. We have been through a number of milestones in that period, and notable amongst them, is the fact that through NSFAS, the government of South Africa has now spent a total R59 billion benefiting over 1.5 million on the education of students who come from middle class and poor backgrounds.

It is the view of this government that no poor yet academically deserving student should be excluded from education and training opportunities due to lack of funding. This policy position is supported by the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) which government introduced 25 years ago. This point must be emphasised because education is one of the tools by which we can break the cycle of poverty, inequality and unemployment and government will make every effort to assist individuals to reach their goals.

That investment is an indication of government's commitment to access to higher education in our country. Through this investment, we have opened the doors of learning to more than a million and half students, who otherwise, would not have accessed higher education. Those students have gone on to participate productively in our economy over the years, and have contributed to making South Africa a great nation. I have asked some of these students to join me in my visit today, and would like to appreciate and recognise their presence.

I have requested these former beneficiaries to come with me, so that we can be able to see with our own eyes, and hear from them, on how NSFAS contributed to their lives. As I am speaking to you today, NSFAS is now entering a new era of the Student-Centred Model, which will now be rolled out fully to all public universities and TVET colleges from the 2017 academic year onwards.

Under this model, NSFAS will be able to have a direct relationship with the students it funds, and will also be able to receive funding applications directly from applicants and communicate the outcomes of those applications directly to the applicants.

The Student-Centred Model is a direct result of recommendations made by the Ministerial Review Committee, which was appointed by the Minister in 2010 to look into ways through which NSFAS operations could be improved, in order to enhance the experience of our students. This new model requires learners who wish to register at public universities or TVET colleges, to submit their applications directly to NSFAS using different application platforms that NSFAS has made public.

Today, myself and ambassadors joined in the NSFAS call centre staff to receive and resolve caller enquiries. I am taking this opportunity to invite the current Grade 12s (matriculant's) including the youth that is Not in Education, Employment nor Training, that have not yet applied for assistance with funding for the 2017 academic year, to apply directly at NSFAS at www.nsfas.org.za or info@nsfas.org.za or 086 006 7327. The deadline for NSFAS to receive applications is the 30 November 2016.

Government would like to financially assist as many students as possible next year, but in order to do that, we rely on you learners filling and submitting your applications for funding, timeously. It is only twenty days to go before applications close. The sooner NSFAS receives your applications, the sooner they are able to process them and contact you to communicate the outcomes, and the sooner NSFAS will be able to process payments for your registration fees and tuition fees. Make a move and do your part.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to take this opportunity to congratulate NSFAS on reaching the 25 years milestone. As government, we are expanding our resources and commitment to assisting more and more young people from poor backgrounds, which means the work that NSFAS is doing will have more value in the coming years. I wish NSFAS another successful 25 years, and want to thank all members of management for their sterling work in executing this important mandate of assisting poor students with bursaries and loans.

Your work is appreciated and recognised. I also want to thank each and everyone of NSFAS employees, for their work and immense contribution in the success of this mandate. In conclusion, I would like to make a call to all NSFAS funded students to make us proud and excel in their academic programmes this year, following all the genuine challenges we have experienced in the higher education sector this year.

I thank you.

Source: Government of South Africa

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