Profile | History
- The establishment of the Tertiary Education Fund of South Africa (TEFSA) as a conduit for funding historically disadvantaged students with academic ability.
- The higher education institutions still however needed to raise funds for financially needy students. Despite efforts to expand TEFSA's loan financing, it became apparent that the institutions were not resourced to manage the burgeoning need.
- TEFSA was then tasked with managing the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in 1996. The relationship between the SA Government and TEFSA developed to the point where the National Student Financial Aid Scheme Act (No 56 of 1999) was passed, establishing NSFAS which incorporated TEFSA. The first Board of NSFAS was appointed in August 2000.
- Enormous backlogs in access to higher education.
- Requests from institutions for increased funding.
- Huge expectations that transformation would immediately bring higher education within everyone's reach.
- Conflict between students and higher education institutions' administrators over the payment of fees.
The good news...
- NSFAS has prevailed.
- Despite increased volumes of both funds and loanees, NSFAS has maintained its high administrative standards and is confident that the business model is sustainable. This confidence comes from two factors. One, government has shown political will to ensure that the scheme is politically funded. Two, students have demonstrated their academic ability and a willingness to repay.
We still have challenges to face such as high drop out rates and levels of student debt, but we have shown an ability to respond to the challenges presented and emerge stronger and more effective each time.