Trouble at NSFAS – we need to start saving for education
It was announced on Wednesday 10 March 2021, that no additional funds would be allocated for NSFAS. The department’s director general, Gwebinkundla Qonde, made the revelation during the meeting of the higher education and training portfolio committee.
“It is a huge challenge confronting us. We will hear about the outcomes but I want to emphasise that there is no new money. It is causing a lot of strain in the system,” Qonde said.
CEO Andile Nongogo said they had projected that funding would increase by R1.8bn compared to last year.
He also said the increased numbers of students as result of the impact of Covid-19 and the demand for access to university led to shortfall as it spent R2.5bn from its reserves to fund allowances for the extended academic period.
“We are waiting for Cabinet to make a funding decision. The numbers we work on are projected,” he said, adding that the final numbers would determine when the students registered.
The total number of university students was projected at 574 419, which grew from last year 486 682.
The breakdown of the figures showed that there were 387 664 continuing students, 137 549 new students and senior students 49 206.
Nongogo said there was an increase in the number who could be funded themselves in the past but could not do so due to Covid-19 now look for NSFAS assistance. The number has grown from 28 426 to 49 206.
The disarray at NSFAS has made it all the more evident how important it is to save for the education of our children. Yet, that is easier said than done as most South Africans are skipping payments on their policies or digging into their savings to stay afloat.
If ever there was a time for us to clearly distinguish between wants and needs – then that time is now. We need to curb unnecessary spending and put available funds towards our debt repayments or our savings. It makes no sense to get yourself further and further into debt with store cards, credit cards and personal loans. It is only going to lead you to the point of skipping monthly repayments and damaging your credit record. This will then affect your credit standing should you wish to a apply for a personal loan which could fully, or partially cover your child’s studies in the long run.
Before you get to that stage, rather contact a registered debt counsellor who can assess whether you are over-indebted and need help. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
NDA is the number one debt counselling company in South Africa. You are at the right place if you are struggling to make ends meet.