CHET informs reporting on NSFAS crisis

CHET informs reporting on NSFAS crisis

An article titled "When learning's door get bolted for students" published by the Mail & Guardian newspaper on 20 February 2015, relied both on data supplied by CHET as well as on the personal accounts of students to highlight the plight of destitude students who are finding no financial support from the South African government's student loan scheme:  

Katlego Mmoloke, a second-year bachelor of arts student at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), catches the Metrorail train each day from Randfontein on the West Rand to class, aware that time is running out to raise money.

He is one of thousands enrolled at the country’s universities who do not know how they are going to pay their tuition fees. They also cannot turn to the government, even though they qualify for state loans: the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has said it has run out of funds – and now risk dropping out.

Nico Cloete, director of the Centre for Higher Education Transformation, the world-renowned non-governmental organization, said the real tragedy was that university dropouts would join about three million youth who are not in education, employment or training (NEETS).

“This is where the door of learning is bolted. About 800 000 of these 18- to 24-year-olds NEETS have matric.”

Although the government has allocated increased funds to higher education, these have not kept pace with universities’ tuition fees. Cloete said tuition fees had risen from R7.8-billion in 2000 to R15.5-billion in 2012. 

“Over 12 years, students have had to find R7.7-billion more. NSFAS funds have almost tripled, but they still don’t support all the students. Lower middle-class parents, such as police and nurses, who earn more than R150 000 per annum, and whose children don’t qualify for NSFAS, can’t afford more than one child at a university.”

Read the full article on the Mail & Guardian website.