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.
NSFAS exhibits at Annual Nelson Mandela Career Development Festival
A total of 3 197 Grade 11 and 12 learners from 10 schools around Mvezo Village in Eastern Cape, participated in a three days Annual Nelson Mandela Career Development Festival held from 18 July 2018 – 20 July 2018.
The Department of Higher Education and Training’s (DHET) event was aimed at enriching, advising and guiding learners of available Post-School Education and Training (PSET) study opportunities, was National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Ms Naledi Pandor, gave a key note address; and she was accompanied by Director-General Gwebinkundla Qonde, and MEC for Education in Eastern Cape, Mandla Makupula.
“I urge you to apply now at universities and colleges. Make sure that you make use of this free education opportunity to reach for your dreams. Do it for yourselves and do it for Mandela” Pandor said.
The Minister also announced that she will be making available 100 bursaries for leaners who wish to pursue skills in high demand, from quantile one to three within the district.
The festival started on Wednesday with leaners engaging with exhibitors which included Eskom, Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) Chemical Industries Education & Training Authority (CHIETA), Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (W&RSETA) National Skills Fund (NSF), Stellenbosch University, Department of Labour, and Kheta.
Following a successful engagement with learners on the open day of the event, exhibitors sealed the festival by visiting five school around the province on Thursday and Friday, which are; Bazindlovu S.S.S, Dalibaso S.S.S, Zwelodumo S.S.S, Tyelinzima SSS, and Chief N.Z. Mtirara.
NSFAS in partnership with the Department of Higher Education and Training(DHET) has embarked on a nationwide on-campus activation to launch the NSFAS Bursary Agreement (NBA) currently available for signing. Since 10 May 2018 NSFAS has been sending out notifications for the signing of the Agreement to all First Time Entering Students (FTENs) and senior students that are receiving NSFAS funding for the first time.
Led by DHET Deputy Minister Buti Manamela and CEO Steven Zwane,the activation campaign commenced in the KZN Province with the team visiting Mangosuthu University,Durban University of Technology and the Elangeni and Thekwini TVET colleges.
Students were assisted with all NBA related issues, assisted to sign the agreement on site and were also given an opportunity to ask any other questions related to their NSFAS applications and funding. CEO Steven Zwane encourage he students to work together with the scheme to ensure that funding decisions are concluded swiftly to ensure that they receive their allowances on time. “Let’s understand each other’s role, students should provide all necessary missing documents such as proof of income or consent forms so that NSFAS is able to make the necessary funding decisions”,He said. NSFAS has generated 67 177 to date and 49 746 have been signed
NSFAS brings light to thousands of Mpumalanga pupils
An estimated 7000 number of pupils around the Ehlanzeni District Municipality in Mpumalanga Province flocked to a career expo organised by the Provincial Inter-Departmental and Stakeholder Career Guidance Forum in partnership with Career Exhibitions and Information Association (CEISA).
The week-long event, which started from 21 May 2018 until 25 May 2018 enabled NSFAS and other sector exhibitors, which included South African Institute of Chartered Accountant (SAICA), MSC Business College and Innovatus Nelspruit College amongst others, to inculcate the pupils about the importance of applying to tertiary institution on time and taking advantage of the newly introduced DHET Bursary administered by NSFAS.
The Grade 11 and 12 from pupils from 96 different schools around the district, attended the career expo on separate allocated dates, and were accompanied by their teachers. During the exhibition, were furnished with broachers other materials to read about available opportunities.
Fee-free education, what’s in it for the nation?
Participate in a minimum of 10 (ten) days or 80 (eighty) hours of community service or special project work, of the students own choosing – to inculcate a culture of giving back and working towards betterment of our country. The student may undertake this work at any time during the year in their vacation time, over weekends or during term time in afternoons/mornings where they do not have classes or tutorials to attend Student must submit a report confirming participation, signed by the manager of the programme supported, once a year. Confirmation of participation is a requirement for continued funding in the following year.
He/she will remain in the country and participate in the economy in whichever way for at least the number of years they have benefited from NSFAS funding Students who wish to undertake further studies in another country may be permitted to do so, if they undertake to return to RSA to participate in the economy for at least the number of years they have benefited from NSFAS Funding Students who immigrate before the expiry date of the service commitment period shall be required to pay back the money before they leave the country. The amount shall be payable in one lump-sum payment or in such other manner as NSFAS is satisfie.