The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has received over 493 000 applications from students seeking funding for 2021.
With only four weeks left before the closing of the NSFAS 2021 application cycle, Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, said an analysis has revealed that the number of applications received to date is almost doubled the number of applications received in previous cycles.
“By this time last year (during the 2020 application cycle), NSFAS had only received over 287 769 applications.
"Female applicants account for 68% (338 324) of the total, while male applicants only account for 32% (155 543). This trend has been continuing in this trajectory for the past three years,” Nzimande said in a statement.
The Minister said there have been major improvements from provinces that had extremely low applications in the past two years, with the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Free State and North West having doubled their previous year’s statistics.
“These latest statistics are encouraging and give an indication that NSFAS’s efforts in providing easy access through partnerships is yielding positive results,” Nzimande said.
KwaZulu-Natal remains the leading province, with its applications accounting for 26% of the overall applications statistics, followed by Gauteng with 21% and Limpopo with 17%.
Nzimande further expressed his gratitude to the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and the Department of Basic Education for their continuous support and partnership.
“NYDA centres, teachers' centres and NSFAS application centres across the country will remain operational throughout the application cycle. We would like to encourage applicants to use these centres,” said Nzimande.
The applications cycle opened on 3 August 2020 and will close on 30 November 2020.
NSFAS has launched a Virtual Outreach Exhibition (VOE), which is an interactive live streaming session.
The VOE is a 3D online portal, where a user can embark on a virtual tour of NSFAS products and services, virtual exhibition simulation, real time engagement, and watch an application demonstration.
VOE is available 24 hours a day without restrictions on location or time.
This platform is based on two principles: accessibility and innovation, connecting people, object and spaces through enhanced visualisation and enabling them to interact.
The VOE is accessible via the NSFAS website www.nsfas.org.za/content/outreachapp. Applicants can access in-demand content such as how to apply video, pre-recorded video and download NSFAS content and digital poster.
The platform is compatible and available using a mobile device, tablet or personal computer.