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South African Union of Students Responds to Treasury’s Decision To Cut NSFAS Funding

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The South African Union of Students says the National Treasury’s decision to cut Nsfas funding will sentence the poor and the working class to a life of poverty.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme will lose some 10% of its funding for the 2024 academic year.

National Treasury has decided to cut the Nsfas funding by R13 billion as the government struggles to balance the books.

This could leave some 87,000 tertiary students out in the cold.

The scheme earlier told Parliament the numbers are based on a calculation in the reduction in funding announced by National Treasury’s during November’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement.

SAUS president Asive Dlanjwa says this decision will have catastrophic consequences.

“The minute that you impede people from getting education, particularly higher education, because this is what we believe that we give them any opportunity to be able to fight and retrieve themselves from the clutches of poverty. So, when you close that ability, and close those doors, effectively what you do is sentencing the poor and the working class to perpetual poverty. This is what is seen as happening when you cut funding from the poor.”

Dlanjwa says students will be denied their right to education this year.

“Education is a basic human right, and the reason it is a basic human right and not a privilege, is because outside education it is almost impossible for anyone to live. Sustainability must not be based on the number of students that are attending. If it grows every year let it grow because we appriciate that it is an investment to society.”

NSFAS APPLICATION OPEN

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The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, announced at the opening of the 2024 funding rollout that in this current financial year, NSFAS is funding 1,6 million students. Applications opened officially on 21 November and will close on 31 January 2024.

Among the new measures introduced, Nzimande said students don’t have to wait for their matric results to apply for NSFAS and that for this application period, there will be no supporting documents required at the time of applying.

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