NSFAS has issued a call to all current matric learners who have not applied for 2017 financial aid to do so before applications close on 30 November 2016.
Addressing the media in Pretoria on Monday, NSFAS Executive, Msulwa Daca, said the scheme has received a very low number of 2017 funding applications since applications opened on 1 August 2016.
There are more than 600 000 learners who will sit for matric exams across the country this year, and Daca said NSFAS was expecting applications close to that number, since the majority of matric learners come from rural and poor communities.
“We are concerned that the number of applications received from Grade 12 learners is very minimal. Most of the applications we received are from university students. This is a concern because the reason for the early opening of applications is to be able to assess all applications early and communicate with the applicants before January 2017,” Daca said.
To broaden the options through which students can submit their applications, NSFAS has joined forces with Vodacom to avail its 81 ICT community centres around the country, to assist learners with online applications. The 81 Vodacom centres are connected with necessary internet resources and learners wishing to apply for NSFAS will be granted free access.
“Our partnership is an extension of our support for educational teacher training centres and our facilities will be fully maximised to support NSFAS online applications for the 2017 academic year,” said Tshepo Ramodibe, Executive Head of Corporate Affairs at Vodacom.
NSFAS 2017 funding applications are submitted online through the NSFAS website, while learners who do not have access to internet can make use of Vodacom centres as well as NYDA youth development centres around the country.
This is the first time that students would apply for NSFAS funding directly through NSFAS, as part of the new student-centred model that NSFAS is now implementing fully. Previously, students used to apply for NSFAS funding at universities and TVET colleges.
“There are only 30 days left before NSFAS closes the applications period for financial aid for 2017. We call upon all teachers, and parents at home to remind the Grade 12 learners to submit their applications before the 30th of November 2016,” Daca said.