State’s student funding scheme ‘unable to meet demand’

South Africa’s National Student Financial Aid Scheme, or NSFAS, cannot keep up with rising demand for funding, worsened by higher education inflation, resulting in qualifying students being left out in the cold, parliament heard last week, writes Bekezela Phakathi for BDLive.

NSFAS CEO Msulwa Daca told parliament’s oversight committee on higher education and training that universities were generally increasing their fees by about 10% annually, while the fiscus allocated NSFAS an increase of 5% to 6% over the medium-term expenditure framework. The funding shortage threatens the ability of higher education institutions to meet the targets set by the state’s policy blueprint, the National Development Plan, which include increasing the number of enrolments at universities and colleges.

Last year’s white paper for post-school education and training aims to increase enrolment from about 900,000 students to 1.6 million by 2030, and for at least 5,000 students to receive doctorates annually.
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