Missing middle-income bracket will receive support, NSFAS to get R49bn

Minister of High Education Blade Nzimande delivered his budget at the National Assembly on Thursday, 12 May. Nzimande revealed that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will be receiving R49 billion for this financial year.

Government will financially support students in need

Nzimande said Government will continue to be committed to financially supporting students from working-class and poor backgrounds.

“Government remains firmly committed to financially support students from poor and working-class backgrounds, while also putting a sustainable mechanism in place to support students from the so-called ‘missing middle’ and postgraduate students,”

said Nzimande.

The R49 billion budget will be spread among six programmes. These are planning, policy and strategy, university education, technical and vocational education and training, community education and training as well as skills development.

Of the budget, R45.9 billion included reprioritised funding from the departmental budget. This amount was set aside to make sure that the full shortfall for the NSFAS is addressed in 2022/23 to support students during this academic year.

While R2.9 billion is going towards housing, Nzimande admitted that this was not enough.

“Clearly R2.9bn is inadequate for student accommodation, therefore we will seek private-sector partnerships, including those already indicating they are investing on their own,”

said Nzimande.

Nzimande announces funding model for missing middle-income bracket and postgraduate students

Another big step announced by Nzimande is a funding model that will support students in the missing middle-income bracket and postgraduate students who cannot get funding from the National Research Foundation.

 “I must indicate that the ministerial task team (MTT) is already engaging the Banking Association SA and significant progress is made in this regard. The MTT will be presenting to me its final report by the end of May,”

Nzimande said.

Nzimande says the National Skills Fund (NSF) will support students in the form of scholarships and bursaries, reports TimesLIVE. The R866 million will be distributed as follows:

  • R527m to NSFAS;
  • R221m to the National Research Foundation; 
  • R80m to the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development; and
  • R9m for the department’s internal scholarships.   

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