Wits: Turning away of students due to funding issues a tragedy

Only 10% of students who applied for financial aid this year will be funded due to shortfalls from the NSFAS.

Wits has received strict instructions from the NSFAS not to overspend. Picture: University of the Witwatersrand Facebook Page.

JOHANNESBURG - The University of the Witwatersrand says it has received strict instructions from the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) not to overspend in its efforts to fund students this year.

However, the university says the current subsidy of over R170 million is insufficient and will see many eligible students turned away.

Only 10 percent of students who applied for financial aid at Wits this year will be funded due to shortfalls from the NSFAS

The university's vice-chancellor Adam Habib says it is unacceptable that promising students are being affected by issues outside of their control.

"This is a real tragedy. Our young people should have the opportunity for higher education if they qualify for it."

In addition to turning away many poor students, the university says it is forced to implement a 10 percent fee increase as government subsidies alone are failing to keep the institution afloat.

The university has said it's working through a backlog of funding applications and is on track to resolve them by next month.