Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande said that students funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will not lose their funding if they change their course or move to another higher education institution, as long as they are still eligible for funding.
Nzimande was responding to a parliamentary question, this week, by DA MP Tarabella Marchesi who asked, amongst other things, whether the scheme stops funding students if they change universities.
In a press statement on Wednesday, addressing the same issue, Nzimande said that changing a course does not affect funding.
“No, Nsfas does not stop funding because students change institutions. Nsfas funding stops when the student fails to meet the academic eligibility criteria and the N+ rule,” said Nzimande.
The N rule is the minimum qualification completion time also known as regulation time specified by the institution for a programme of study funded by NSFAS.
“ N+1 applies to first-time entering students first registered after December 2017, whilst N+2 applies to students who first registered before January 2018.
“If a student has transferred from any other public university, regardless of whether they were funded at that university, the number of years already registered for the qualification must be counted as part of the minimum qualification completion time,” he said.
Students who qualify for NSFAS are those who are recipients of the SASSA grant, and whose combined household income is not more than R350 000 per year. And for students who are disable the combined household income must not exceed R600 000 per year for them to qualify for funding by the scheme.
Recently, the NSFAS board told the portfolio committee on higher education that for this year the scheme had assessed 323 445 Technical and Vocational Education and Training college and 940 226 university students to be eligible for funding.