The government has made R200 million available to assist former students who cannot graduate because of fees owing to universities. The funds are administered by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) estimates that approximately 25 000 students from all 23 public universities in South Africa could be eligible for loans from this special fund.
Universities are now in the process of contacting former students who completed their degrees between the years 2000 to 2010 and passed the requirements for graduation but who have never received their graduation certificates.
HOW CAN FORMER STUDENTS APPLY FOR FUNDING?
Former students must apply at the Financial Aid Offices (FAO) at the university where they owe fees. Staff will administer the financial means test to assess a student’s current financial position. Loans will then be allocated on the following basis:
1. Applicants must be South African citizens;
2. Undergraduate students who meet the requirements of the NSFAS means test will be considered first, and then those with a family income of between R120 000 and R250 000 per annum;
3. Honours students who meet the requirements of the NSFAS means test will be considered next, with those with a family income of between R120 000 and R250 000 to be considered if funds are available;
4. Finally, if funds are available, Masters and Doctoral students who meet the requirements of the NSFAS means test will be considered, followed by those Masters and Doctoral students whose family income is between R120 000 and R250 000.
NSFAS encourages former students who have not received their certificates because of fees owing to a university to contact the university FAO to apply for a loan to pay these fees.
For queries please contact NSFAS on 021 763 3232 or email [email protected]. Former students can also email their names and contact details, together with the name of the university where they studied, if they would like the university to contact them about these loans.