Tag Archives: student loans

Students to reap benefits from transformed NSFAS

The Higher Education and Training Department and National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) board have recommitted to being sure that full compliance with all legislative and regulatory requirements to be able to receive clean audits in future.

NSFAS has obtained an unqualified audit from the Auditor General after having a turnaround strategy put in place after it received an audit disclaimer this past year.

Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande said his department and NSFAS board were mutually devoted to accomplishing the remainder of its turnaround goals, this includes boosting the amount of money readily available for both loans and bursaries, and improving upon the way NSFAS communicates its message to learners. This will assist students to become mindful of the financial assistance that is accessible to them prior to leaving school.

The checklist of goals also involves widening the definition of students who happen to be qualified to apply for student financial aid, streamlining the application processes making sure that money reaches students simply and efficiently and introducing modern systems to control the billions of rands that NSFAS distributes.

The scheme at the same time intends to crack down on fraud and corruption at institutions making sure that financial aid actually reaches the students it is intended for; and drastically decreasing the number of NSFAS students who either fail or drop out by creating programmes together with institutions and stakeholders to provide students the most effective possibility of graduating.

 

 

“My department and NSFAS happen to be in the process of introducing the far-reaching modifications at the NSFAS which will see it accomplish these goals within the next three years,” Nzimande said.

Ever since the creation of NSFAS in 1999, funds allotted to NSFAS have risen significantly from R441 million in 1999 to R5.5 billion in 2011/2012, furnishing financial aid to 210 000 students in 2010.

As stated by the minister, the master plan is to expand this figure in an attempt to realise the objective of progressively providing free education for students coming from poor families as mandated by government.

“Part of our long term strategy is to move to a student-centric model to be sure the money follows the students,” he said, adding that NSFAS is going to be undertaking periodic audits to make certain that funds allotted to all institutions are put to use accordingly.

 

 

NSFAS Chairperson Zamayedwa Sogayise stated that the board was fully commited to putting in place the policies, strategies, operational plans and leadership designed to completely transform NSFAS towards a model public entity, competent at delivering financial aid to students who will go on to complete their educational goals and play a role in the development of South Africa.

“The board has made considerable progress in accomplishing its turnaround objectives while setting up and maintaining current operations,” said Sogayise, adding the fact that the board expects to be able to report much better performance in all areas of operation within the next year.

The scheme at present extends to students at 23 universities and 50 Further Education Training colleges nationwide.

 

For information, contact NSFAS directly – click here

Source: BuaNews

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Renewed focus on SA teachers

The Department of Basic Education is building up its advertising and marketing campaign to draw in young adults to take up teaching via the Funza Lushaka Bursary initiative.

Starting from next month, the department announced that it is going to “recruit the very best of young people to the teaching profession.” It has at the same time declared that there would be a “more scripted strategy to teacher development.”

This approach, it explained, would come with training and support to teachers to “make it possible for them to manage and utilize efficient techniques to teach specific content areas,” which the Annual National Assessment had demonstrated that they are difficult for learners.

 

 

As part of endeavours to bolster accountability within the education system, the department stated it was in fact working closely with the Education Labour Relations Council to formulate performance management contracts with principals and deputy principals.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and her deputy Enver Surty were responding to journalists on Tuesday during a Human Development Cluster briefing in Cape Town.

Talking on behalf of the minister, Surty revealed that “all principals and deputy principals are going to enter into performance contracts in the foreseeable future along with clear performance targets.”

He pointed out that far better performance at basic education level was in fact critical for reaching the goals and objectives of the Department of Higher Education and Training.

“Education and training happen to be central in improving the required skills that will actually ensure a simple yet effective response to the needs of the labour market… as well as guaranteeing inclusive beneficiation in the economy.”

He explained that government had observed that the South African labour market was “seriously affected by skills shortages.

As part of initiatives to boost the new Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas), the department had initiated interventions which sought to improve access to training and skills development opportunities.

“The unveiling of the new Seta landscape has resulted in the restructuring of Setas… to further improve governance, administration along with a focus on achieving sectoral skills needs and boost training levels overall.

“A standard constitution for all Setas has been unveiled to make sure there is uniformity and alignment with respect to the operation of Setas”

 

 

On a related matter, Surty declared that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is definately not charging interest on student loans “until 1 year after the student has graduated or left university.”

This, he explained, would apply to “all NSFAS loans to students registered on 1 April 2011 and [beyond].”

“An additional R50 million has been made available for postgraduate students who require financial help in order to complete their Honours, Master’s and Doctoral Degrees.

“These students will enter into loan agreements with NSFAS and the funds they repay are going to be earmarked to fund future postgraduate students.”

He said that the Department of Higher Education had at the same time requested NSFAS to remove from the credit bureau “all students they already have blacklisted,” specifically recipients of NSFAS loans.

At the same time, there are also plans by the Department of Basic Education and President Jacob Zuma to go back to the Eastern Cape to deal with the education turmoil there.

Source: BuaNews

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Government to assist 25 000 students waiting to graduate

The Department of Higher Education and Training is coming to the rescue of approximately 25 000 students from universities who have finished studies however are not in a position to graduate and obtain work for the reason that they have not yet finished paying student loans.

Briefing the media prior to his Budget Vote in Parliament today, the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, talked about how his department is going to set aside roughly R200 million to assist students who had obtained loans and had since graduated, but still owed monies to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

All those who qualify to graduate between 2000 and 2010, and furthermore eligible for NSFAS loans can apply for this particular special funding with the aid of their respective student financial-aid offices, he explained.

Nzimande, who also made several other announcements on the NSFAS, said the new measure would apply to students that registered for loans from April 1.

These included a doubling of disbursements under the fund – from R2.7 billion in the 2010/11 financial year to R5.4 billion this financial year – and placing a limit on interest charged on student loans, so that students no longer have to pay the interest on their loans until 12 months after their graduation.

At present, interest charged on loans kicks in the moment you sign for a loan, unlike in Brazil and Canada, where interest payments on student loans only become payable after a student graduates.

Added to this, R50 million has been provided for post-graduate students who require financial assistance to complete their degrees.

These students will enter into loan agreements with the NSFAS and the money they pay back would be earmarked to fund post-graduate students, Nzimande, said.

But Nzimande hastened to add that this wasn’t a license for other students to not pay back their NSFAS loans.

He said the department would approach SARS to assist in tracing and forcing those NSFAS loan beneficiaries, who are now working but are not paying back loans, to pay back their loans.

The department is also looking to increase the number of university accommodation available to students.

 

Currently only 18.5 percent of students stay in university accommodation and the department had set aside R686 million for the years between 2010 and 2012, to build and refurbish student residences, he said.

Nzimande said preliminary reports were being studied by the department on setting up universities in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga, while work is also under way to increase the number of universities that offer courses for teachers that want to teach in African languages.

The department was also busy overhauling Further Education and Training (FET) colleges and department officials had already visited all 50 FET colleges to assess how to give hands-on support.

The minister said the career advice services programme, run by the South African Qualifications Authority (Saqa), was launched in January this year and a website was now up and running – www.careerhelp.org.za, as well as a Facebook group – www.facebook.com/careerhelp.

The department is partnering with the SABC, which is running 30-minute career guidance slots on nine radio stations, reaching about 2.3 million listeners per week.

The programme is broadcast in nine African languages and Nzimande said the department intended expanding the radio programme to Afrikaans as well.

Turning to the transformation of the Skills Education and Training Authorities (Setas), Nzimande said the department was strengthening Seta governance and had reduced the number of Setas from 23 to 21.

He said the department is tackling underspending at Setas and has told boards to reduce the trend.

Setas would be reconfigured to spend more on long-term workplace-orientated training.

The department would also be setting up a task team to analyse where Setas spend money and how much use Setas make of public learning bodies, rather than just private consultants.

Commenting about media reports on the appointment of ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe’s wife Nolwande as a member of the new Services Seta’s board, Nzimande said Mrs Mantashe is a human-resource expert and should be seen on her own merits as a professional, rather than be judged on who she is married to.

Nzimande said the Green Paper on Higher Education would be released later this year.

The appointment of a new director general is in process and the department would begin interviewing candidates soon, he said.

Source: BuaNews

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Considerably more study funds for South African youth

The Department of Higher Education and Training has revealed “a all-encompassing evaluation” concerning the spending focal points of the National Skills Fund, which can help to place considerably more young people through the tertiary education and learning system.

This approach, it stated, was basically at this time being carried out in order to “reprioritise its funding allocations” in keeping with National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS3) and the country’s Human Resources Development Strategy.

Minister for Basic Education Angie Motshekga was speaking in Parliament in Cape Town in the course of a briefing, which had been attended by Minister for Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande, among other individuals.

“We have in addition initiated a course of action of bringing together just about all resources connected with bursaries and loans within the banner of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS),” said Motshekga.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga

She stated that the NSFAS was in fact set to obtain a supplementary allocation of financial resources amounting to R150 million this coming year.

Approximately R22.9 million of these additional resources is going to be committed to supporting 820 first year students along with R7 million when it comes to a bursary program intended for rural students who performed well in their matric examinations this past year.

The minister revealed that R21 million would most likely cater for 300 first year students with disabilities along with the “balance of R99.1 million is going to be for students that happen to be currently in these particular career fields.”

The National Skills Fund would most likely earmark R100 million for the purpose of Career Wise bursaries. Of that amount, R17 million would most likely create funding for 258 first year students, R4 million would go towards the Dipaleseng Special Bursary Scheme in addition to R11.5 million that will be utilized to help and support 245 first year students studying chartered accountancy at Fort Hare University.


The remaining R4.6 million would go towards assisting 67 “first year bursaries in order to meet the commitments made in honour of former President Nelson Mandela in Giyani,” said Motshekga.

Source: BuaNews

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Tips on how to Finance Your Education

Educational costs have increased significantly in the last 10 years and many existing students encounter numerous financial and budgetary difficulties. Despite the fact that a large number of students make an effort to maintain employment on a part-time basis when they study, it is sometimes insufficient to take care of practically all educational costs, living expenses not to mention textbooks.

Allow me to share a handful of but not all readily available higher education financing alternatives for students:

1. Bursaries and scholarship grants are non-repayable forms of financial assistance. Scholarships and grants are provided according to your personal academic accomplishment whilst bursaries are granted in accordance to academic merit along with financial requirements.

2. The government, provinces, individual colleges and universities as well as some charitable foundations and in many cases businesses also award grants, scholarships and bursaries. It is advisable to seek advice from a nearby college or university to ensure that you are aware of what is accessible and/orĀ  available in addition to whether or not it is possible to qualify.

3. Student education loans are offered at the provincial and national levels and will eventually need to be repaid when you have completed your education and training. The criteria pertaining to providing student education loans vary from one province to another and you ought to confirm information and facts in accordance with your personal circumstances.

4. Various private institutions offer grants and loans to students seeking to go to a University, School, College, Vocational or Trade School that can assist them to finance their particular studies.

5. A number of banking and financial institutions offer students lines of credit enabling you to access funds at any given time, and pay the financial loan off once you have finished your education and training.

6. In addition, you will discover government programs that provide you with an extensive number of initiatives that can assist post-secondary students to obtain practical work experience while earning an income so that they can sustain themselves throughout their education and training.

Source: mcdowelltech.edu, money.howstuffworks.com, campusaccess.com, redwoods.edu, greenwoodlibrary.us, hc.educampusonline.com, nova.edu, journalfordebtreduction.com

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