In a statement released yesterday (March 25), Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor has announced that the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has allocated an additional sum of R967 million to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to settle the historic debt owed to universities by 52,514 students. The allocation is specifically to cover the debt owed by those who had been funded before 2018 and were unable to pay their required portion of the costs.

The minister said: “We are aware that there will be some students who entered the university system prior to the new scheme being implemented in 2018, who will continue to be funded through NSFAS on the pre-2018 funding model. These students would have accrued further debt during their 2018 academic year if their fees were above the NSFAS cap”.

In order to address this, Pandor said her department plans to provide funding to the NSFAS during the 2019 academic year to clear this debt. It is expected that all the students funded through the old scheme would have exited the system by the 2022 academic year.