The government has set aside R67bn to fund the post-matric education system‚ which includes R33bn to be allocated to free higher education.
This is according to Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor‚ who was briefing the media on Thursday morning ahead of the tabling of her department’s spending plans for this financial year in the National Assembly.
“Over the medium-expenditure framework, the combined total of additional funding for the post-school system amounts to R67bn‚ of which R33bn is the additional allocation of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for the introduction of the [department’s] bursary scheme for first-time students in the universities, and R10.3bn for technical and vocational education and training colleges (TVET) bursaries‚” said Pandor.
She said that for the year 2018 alone‚ NSFAS has been allocated a budget of R20.5bn from the department’s total budget of almost R90bn‚ with the balance of the money being transferred to universities‚ TVET colleges, and community and education training colleges.
CEO of NSFAS Steven Zwane said that following former president Jacob Zuma’s surprise announcement on free tertiary education in December last year‚ the scheme has received hundreds of thousands of new funding applications‚ which meant new money had to be found to meet the demand.
“We’ve received up to 420,000 applications in total up to this point‚ which is more than 110,000 over what we received by the end of November last year‚ which means the pronouncement had an impact of a lot more people applying‚” said Zwane.
“We know who qualifies and meets the funding criteria of NSFAS; what we’re now doing is making sure the data we have matches the data of registration at institutions, to make sure we quantify those numbers effectively.”