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Source: South Africa News Agency

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has engaged various provincial governments where a low number of applications have been received for 2020.

“NSFAS will deploy agents to the various provinces beginning with the Free State and Western Cape provinces in order to assist communities in these areas to apply for funding, this will be done through community outreach programmes,” NSFAS Administrator Dr Randall Carolissen said.

On Sunday, NSFAS announced that it had received 50 000 more applications when compared to the same period last year.

Despite the increase in applications, NSFAS noted that KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, and Limpopo remain as the provinces with the most applications received while the Western and Northern Cape provinces are lagging behind.

“NSFAS reached the 216 758 applications mark only six weeks after the opening. However, closer analysis shows that out of the 216 758 applications received since the opening of the 2020 application cycle on September 01, 2019, only 10% of the applicants chose TVET colleges as their preferred institution of study.

“This shows that as a country we have not yet positioned TVET education and the associated criticality of skills developments as an imperative choice for our national development ideals,” NSFAS said.

Applications are open for Grade 9 to 12 learners and out of school youth who wish to further their studies with the support of the government bursary scheme for the 2020 academic year.

Applications statistics released by NSFAS indicate that a majority of applicants are out of school youth who intend to further their studies at public universities.

“NSFAS considers each application that we receive. When processing an application, we validate information with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and Department of Social Development (DSD) thereby getting a complete profile of an applicant and family.

“We take into consideration the total household family income, home affairs and social welfare status, higher education or admission status. Information about your school, and local municipality plays a crucial role in the 2020 application system,” Carolissen said.

NSFAS said meeting academic requirements for tertiary studies is important as students only become funded once registered at a public institution of higher learning for an approved qualification.

“Applicants who come from working class families, whose total household income is below R350 000 per annum will be eligible to receive the government bursary.

“However, funding will only be confirmed or granted as soon as proof of admission is provided to NSFAS by the institution of higher learning. Applicants with special needs or disability will take top priority together with the beneficiaries of social grants,” NSFAS said.

NSFAS applications opened on 01 September 2019 and will close on 30 November 2019 at midnight. – SAnews.gov.za

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