The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) anticipates it will probably budget for more than R3.6 billion to universities this coming year, increasing from R3.4 billion in 2011.
Additionally, it has at the same time set aside in excess of R1.7 billion for Further Education Training (FET) colleges for 2012 as compared to R1.2 billion given last year in the same period.
Responding to MPs on Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, NSFAS’s new chief executive Nkosinathi Khena stated that when assigning funds, their criteria, among others, took note of historically disadvantaged institutions, together with precisely how money ended up being spent in the previous year.
He explained the fact that these monies were for student funding only and definitely not for the operations of the institutions.
By way of example, he revealed that Walter Sisulu University would obtain almost R2.5 million in 2012 in comparison to the R148.7 million it received during the past year, while Tshwane University of Technology would likely receive R393 million as compared to 2011’s R42.7 million.
Limpopo University has been earmarked to get R203 million compared to the R186.9 million last year, while North West University would get R124 million compared to the R115.9 from last year.
Regarding FETs, Boland College would get R35.7 million in 2012 compared with last year’s R23 million, while King Sabata Dalindyebo FET College would get R24 million compared to the R17 million it received in 2011.
The committee in most cases welcomed the work being carried out by NSFAS, but brought up some issues impacting on higher education.
Azapo MP Jake Dikobo mentioned that there have been accusations that a number of students being funded for accommodation ended up renting their rooms and opting to stay in shacks in townships. There have also been assertions that some lecturers were renting out these rooms.
ANC MP Zondi Makhubele agreed, stating that some individuals have been claiming refunds at the end of year and spent the money on items that were not associated with their studies.
He explained that such students would make a complaint that they did not have money to register at the outset of the following academic year. He cited an case in point of a student that had claimed R11 000 and spent it all.
Khena said students were not meant to claim refunds at the conclusion of the year. He added that they would get to the bottom of the issues brought up by the committee.
Higher Education South Africa acting chief executive, Jeffrey Mabelebele, who was requested to respond on the matter, explained that he was not aware of such incidents.
“Certainly, without facts at my disposal, it sound illogical (students claiming refunds), I need the facts.”
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