More than half (51%) of youth aged 18 24 claimed that they did not have the financial means to pay for their tuition and that money is the main reason they are not attending an educational institution. Clearly money plays a very significant role in whether youths attend educational institutions in the tertiary stage of learning.
Bursary administration is a joint responsibility between the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and public Universities and TVET colleges. Funding to students through NSFAS has increased from R5.9 billion in 2014/15 to the current levels of R34.5 billion in 2020 to support students from poor and working class backgrounds in their studies at public TVET colleges and universities.
Government has rightly prioritised the funding needs of the poorest students in the system and has scaled up support to provide improved financial aid for all students from families earning up to R350 000 per annum. As government remains committed to developing a student funding eco system, we are aware that there are many students who fall outside this category and struggle to afford higher education.
Students over campuses say their education is at risk, The National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) has declared a shutdown of the country’s 26 public universities. NUSAS sent a list of 15 demands to Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande relating to student funding, accommodation, and safety.