The Democratic Alliance has demanded answers over the R10 billion NSFAS funding shortfall.Â The opposition party has announced that it will be approaching the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on High Education to request an urgent meeting with the Department over the substantial shortfall.
Shadow Minister for Higher Education Chantel King commented on the National Student Financial Aid Schemeâ€™s financial woes. King insists that Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has some explaining to do.
â€œThe current NSFAS model is clearly not up to the task of funding the increasing numbers of students, with the shortfall increasing from R6.8 billion in 2021. Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande must account to the committee on how the budgeted R43 billion will be spent to accommodate as many students as possible and how he plans to fund the R10 billion shortfall.â€
NSFAS shortfall prompts burning questions
The DA has demanded that the Minister must answer some burning questions over the crisis at the fund which aids so many South Africans in their studies.
The opposition party insists that Nzimande must give definitive answers to the following questions:Â
- How will the R10.1 billion NSFAS shortfall be funded?
- How sustainable is the current funding model as investigated by the Ministerial Task Team?
- What recommendations does the Ministerial Task Team report provide?
- With a shrinking tax base and decreased economic growth, a sustainable plan for student funding must be enacted.Â
- Warning over possible unrest
King pointed out that previous issues prompted unrest at higher learning institutions, raising concerns over potential protests.
â€œRecent years have highlighted how late funding decisions have led to unrest at institutions of higher learning and utterances made by NSFAS board chairperson, Ernest Khoza, that should the shortfall not be covered no funding decision can be made, is concerning.â€
The recently announced extension of NSFAS applications, in Kingâ€™s opinion, has created unrealistic expectations.
â€œThe extension of the NSFAS application deadline is creating unrealistic expectations for first time entering students, and could lead to similar unrest weâ€™ve seen in the past.â€