Nzimande: Nsfas will fund over 400,000 students in 2017

More than 500,000 school leavers are expected to take up opportunities at tertiary education institutions this year.

FILE: Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande. Picture: GCIS

PRETORIA - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande says the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) will be funding more than 400,000 students at universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training Colleges (TVET) colleges in the 2017 academic year.

The minister provided an update in Pretoria on Thursday on the state of readiness in the post-school education and training sector.

More than 500,000 school leavers are expected to take up opportunities at tertiary education institutions this year.

The question of funding and the plight of poor students fueled #FeesMustFall protests last year, which led to widespread unrest.

Nzimande says Nsfas funding will benefit about three quarters of tertiary education students.

“Nsfas will be funding 205,000 first time and continuing eligible students at universities and 200,000 students at TVET colleges in 2017, totaling R15.2 billion.”

Nsfas chief excutive Msulwa Daca is confident they have sufficient funds available.

“In 2016, all Nsfas qualifying students were financed. In 2017, we have more money than in 2016.”

This year, the fund will pay the qualifying students' registration fees.

(Edited by Tamsin Wort)