Cape Town – With only a few weeks left before the closing of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) 2021 application cycle, the entity says its analysis shows the number of applications to date is almost double the number of applications from previous cycles during the same timeline.
NSFAS administrator Randall Carolissen said the entity received more than 493 904 applications to date, compared to 287 769 applications received by this time last year.
Carolissen said female applicants accounted for 68% of the total, while male applicants only accounted for 32%.
“This trend has been continuing in this trajectory for the past three years.”
Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande said the latest statistics gave an indication that NSFAS’s efforts to provide easy access through partnerships was yielding positive results.
“We remain highly grateful to the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and the Department of Basic Education for their continuous support and partnership.
“NYDA centres and Teacher’s Centres across the country will remain operational as NSFAS application centres throughout the application cycle.”
Nzimande encouraged applicants to use those centres for applications.
Carolissen said the application cycle would close at the end of the month.
“As part of new and exciting innovations NSFAS has launched a Virtual Outreach Exhibition (VOE), which is an interactive live streaming session.”
The VOE is a 3D online portal where a user could embark on a virtual tour of NSFAS products and services, virtual exhibition simulation, real time engagement virtual interface, watch application demonstration on how to apply and live stream events.
SA Students Congress spokesperson Luvuyo Barnes said: “Sasco views this as an opportunity for young South Africans to break the cycles of inequality and poverty. We view education as an opportunity to (again) access (to) more lucrative opportunities to participate in the economy.”
Barnes said NSFAS was a great equaliser of past injustices and those that were still visible in the status quo.
“We urge NSFAS to widen its range of individuals they get to fund.”
He said NSFAS must look into policy deviation due to Covid-19.