Kaya 959 Reporter
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande says reports that students need a 75% pass mark to continue receiving funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) are malicious and misleading.
On Wednesday, NSFAS released a statement which explained it as a proposal aimed at encouraging learners to pass more of their course/modules, in order to continue receiving funding.
“The proposed policy, if implemented, would only apply as of the 2023 academic year, and would not be applied to students who entered higher education for the first time, also referred to as FTEN students. This is in recognition of the transition that many students make from high school to university.
“It should be noted that NSFAS funds students that would not otherwise be able to access higher education to ensure that they qualify and ultimately contribute to the economy.
“Therefore, this progression criteria is aimed at ensuring that students complete their qualifications within the allowable timeframe to ensure return on investment and to provide more opportunities to deserving students,” NSFAS said.
NSFAS is currently holding stakeholder consultations on the proposed eligibility criteria and conditions for financial aid to be effective from the 2022 academic year.
Nzimande took to his social media to dismiss the reports, saying they are malicious and misleading.
“I wish to dismiss the malicious and misleading media reports alleging that the Department of Higher Education and Training and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) have taken a decision to increase the pass mark to 75% for students to be funded by NSFAS. The Department of Higher Education has not as yet announced the 2022 Guidelines for the DHET bursary scheme.”
He also added that at this stage, there are ongoing internal consultations taking place.
“I can confirm that there are ongoing internal consultations taking place between the Department of Higher Education and NSFAS officials on the 2022 Guidelines for the DHET bursary scheme. The consultations will be extended to the entire PSET sector before the official announcement of the approved 2022 Guidelines.”