Dept to reprioritise budget to find more money for student funding - Nzimande

Addressing a post-Cabinet briefing on Thursday, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said that no qualifying student would be affected by delays in National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande addresses members of the media in Pretoria on 8 March 2021 on funding discussions for prospective students for the 2021 academic year. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said that his department would reprioritise its budget to find more money for student funding.

Addressing a post-Cabinet briefing on Thursday, Nzimande said that no qualifying student would be affected by delays in National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

He said that Cabinet has taken a decision to look into a new funding model for higher education.

Minister Nzimande said that government needed an urgent review of higher education funding.

He said that while government remained committed to providing free education for working-class and poor students, the department was hit with funding cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Cabinet agreed that funding should be reprioritised so the budget of Higher Education and Training in order to ensure that all deserving NSFAS-qualifying students are able to receive funding support for the 2020/21 academic year. Further reprioritisation can only be considered as part of the medium-term budget process of government, which takes place later this year."

Nzimande said now that the issue of a funding shortfall had been addressed, bursary schemes could be finalised.

He said that post-graduates would no longer qualify for funding earmarked for new entrants.

"However, there will be no funding available for new entrants on second or post-graduate qualifications as post-graduate programmes ordinarily are funded through application to the national research foundation."

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.