The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has engaged provinces with a low number of applications for 2020.
NSFAS administrator Dr Randall Carolissen said NSFAS would deploy agents to the provinces in question beginning with the Free State and Western Cape, in order to assist communities to apply for funding.
“This will be done through community outreach programmes,” he said.
The scheme has reported that compared to the same period of the previous year, 50000 more applications had been received.
However, closer analysis showed that out of the 216 758 applications received since the opening of the 2020 application cycle on September 1, only 10% of the applicants chose technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges as their preferred institutions of study.
Carolissen said that showed 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”.
He said applications were open for Grade 9 to 12 pupils and out-of-school youth who wished to further their studies with the support of the government bursary scheme for the 2020 academic year.
Applications statistics released by NSFAS indicated that a majority of applicants were out-of-school youth who intended to further their studies at public universities.
“When processing an application, we validate information with Home Affairs and the Social Development Department, 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.
“Applicants who come from working-class families, whose total household income is below R350 000 a year 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 a disability will take top priority, together with the beneficiaries of social grants,” Carolissen said.
“We are committed to ensuring that our student funding system is effectively managed and implement across universities and TVET colleges, and that students are able to fully access the funding that government has made available,” Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande said.
NSFAS applications opened on September 1 and will close on November 30 at midnight.