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Higher education gets R7bn financial aid boost

Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor says poor students entering university and colleges for the first time will receive an addition R7 billion in financial aid.

Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor, Deputy Minister Buti Manamela and Nsafs chairperson Sizwe Nxasana briefing media in Cape Town on the progress made, so far, in implementing free higher education. Picture: @SAgovnews/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor says poor students entering university and colleges for the first time will receive an addition R7 billion in financial aid.

Pandor announced the additional funding allocation for higher education at a media briefing on Tuesday morning while giving updates on the significant changes to the student funding model from 2018.

The new model will be in the form of a grant as opposed to a loan, which students had to previously pay back to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, some for years after graduating.

Pandor said that the new school year got off to a smooth start following strenuous efforts to ensure the funding model or bursary loan scheme is introduced with ease.

Although new students will not be expected to pay back the cost of the bursaries, they will have to meet certain conditions like a satisfactory academic performance.

University students won’t be the only ones benefitting from the new higher education funding regime as TVET colleges are also expected to receive additional funding.

“The increase in funding will support 458,875 students based on historical data and enrolment target for 2018/19 it’s estimated that more than 90% of TVET college students will benefit.”

Pandor admits the new funding model is not without its problems. But these have been dealt with, she insists.

The minister says that she will release more details on the data of beneficiaries during her department’s budget vote in May.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)