New NSFAS Service Centre with improved systems
On Thursday 18 October the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training (DHET) Mr Buti Manamela, and
the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) Administrator Dr Randall Carolissen officially opened the
new NSFAS Service Centre at NSFAS Head offices in Wynberg, Cape Town.
The new NSFAS service centre has been upgraded with the latest technology which will assist in speeding up the application process and general inquiries. Equipped with 14 computers and a scanner, the centre consists of a waiting area, self-service cubicles, and the consultation cubicles, will accommodate over 30 seated visitors at a given time.
“This centre has been operational since the 08 of October 2018, this was done to allow us to tests the new technology, and systems which were installed to improve the overall experience for visitors.’ Said NSFAS Administrator Dr Randall Carolissen during the launch.
The establishment and opening of the Service Centre is a significant milestone for the organisation, in order to improve accessibility to students, applicants. To date the centre has had more than 322 visitors who were successfully assisted.
Speaking to the visitors Deputy Minister Mr Buti Manamela encouraged them to apply for 2019 funding on time, before the 30 November 2018 closing date. Manamela said that he was impressed with the work of the new Administrator and NSFAS team with regards to the new systems that were introduced to simplify the lives of students, and applicants.
After the opening of the service centre both Deputy Minister Buti Manamela and Administrator Randall Carolissen took the opportunity to respond students via a Twitter chat #FreeEdu, which was a platform to discuss and deal with twitter inquiries from students and applicants.
The NSFAS service centre is open Mondays to Fridays from 08:00 to 17:00. For more information TOLL FREE number 08000 NSFAS (67327), Facebook NSFAS, or Twitter @MyNSFAS.
NSFAS and University of Venda hand out assistive devices to 74 disabled students
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) together with the University of Venda (UNIVEN) hosted the first Assistive
Device Handover event on 27 August 2018 at the university in Thohoyandou. Through the NSFAS Disability Bursary Programme
the scheme has funded 2 915 students living with disability across all 26 universities and 50 TVET colleges.
The NSFAS Disability Bursary Programme provides financial support to students with disabilities who need financial aid and possess the ability to pass their academic subjects. The NSFAS Disability Fund covers the costs of tuition, registration, books, accommodation, meals. In addition to paying for students’ full cost of study, the Disability Fund also provides funded students with assistive devices (e.g. wheelchairs, hearing aids, adapted laptops etc) and Human Support (carers).
The aim of the fund is to open opportunities in higher education, by providing the necessary additional teaching and support for students to overcome learning barriers which have resulted from disability. For a student living with a disability to be considered for the NSFAS bursary, their disability must be disclosed on the application form (whether online or the paper-based application). University of Venda is one of the institutions which have the highest number of students living with disability. Some of the contributing factors to the high incidences of disabilities are attributed to poverty, malnutrition, insufficient medical care, and a lack of access to health facilities. Since 2001 UNIVEN began to move towards the institutionalization of services for students with disabilities by appointing staff members on a part-time basis. UNIVEN is able to cater for students with various disabilities with the funds administered by NSFAS. The different forms of disability are listed as:
- Blindness; Partially-sighted
- Deaf; Deaf-Blind
- Hearing impaired; Hard of hearing
- Neurodevelopmental disabilities
- Psychosocial disabilities
- Physical disability
- Chronic illness
The UNIVEN Disabled Students Unit has 192 students with various disabilities who registered for academic support. During the 2018 academic year the institutions Disability Unit worked closely with NSFAS to purchase devices for 74 registered students, this is an immense achievement to have this large number of students receive assistive devices in one year. Over 100 students attended the event where a variety of assistive devices such as scooters and laptops were handed out to provide the much-needed support to students living with disability in order to help them access the same quality education as their abled bodied peers.
NSFAS together with UNIVEN would like to urge students living with disabilities wishing to further their higher education to apply for the NSFAS Disability Bursary Programme during the 2019 application cycle. Returning students who have not signed their agreements are urged to do by going to www.nsfas.org.za and signing their agreements before it is too late.