Nzimande promises R1 billion in bursaries to poor students

12:07 (GMT+2) Fri, 12 Jul 2019

The national bursary scheme for students from families earning up to R350,000 a year will see R102.4 billion disbursed over the next three years, Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande said on Friday.

He said the new bursary scheme, which was introduced last year, would by 2022, cover about half of all students at public universities as it was made available to new entrants every year.

It will be phased in at universities over five years, with the new first-time cohort added each year. By 2022, the scheme will cover all cohorts of students across the university system. The scheme will support approximately 50% of the undergraduate student population at public universities.

"The substantial investment in poor and working-class students over the 2019 MTEF (medium-term expenditure framework), amounts to R82 billion for university students and R20.4 billion for TVET college students."

The scheme is administered through the troubled National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), which was placed under administration in August.

Nzimande added that a specialist ministerial team would be appointed in the coming months to assess the root causes of the policy and capacity problems at NSFAS.

Democratic Alliance MP Belinda Bozzoli said it was impossible to approve a budget for a troubled department that was so casual about oversight that entities like NSFAS, "a R30 billion organisation", have consistently failed to brief Parliament's portfolio committee on higher education on how they manage their funding."

- African News Agency (ANA)