The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) says students who benefited from the scheme still owe about R21 billion – and the majority of the beneficiaries are now employed by private companies and earning money.
At the end of March 2015, the scheme said it recorded a loan book with a cumulative nominal value of R21.3 billion and a fair value of R6.1 billion
Nsfas spokesperson Kagisho Mamabolo said the scheme planned to meet companies that employed most of its beneficiaries in an effort to recover what they owed. He said about 110 000 debtors were employed in the private sector, while 81 000 were employed by government.
However, Mamabolo added that after Nsfas chairperson Sizwe Nxasana and his team launched a recovery campaign in October 2015, the scheme collected more than R19.9 million from more than 19 000 employed graduates who were given study opportunities at universities through the state funding scheme.
“These graduates are repaying their study loans for the first time since they were employed,” said Mamabolo.
The scheme appealed to beneficiaries who were employed to start paying their debts as it required more funding to provide other students with loans. Last year and early this year, students were protesting at universities and funding was among the grievances. Some of the students said Nsfas did not allocate them enough funding for tuition and food. They also demanded that the scheme create an online application process – which Nsfas did last month.
Mamabolo said since the online platform opened for students to apply for semester courses last month at selected institutions, it had received more than 5 000 applications. The majority of those came from students attending the Durban University of Technology, with 1 830 applications.
There were 1 556 applicants from Unisa.
Mamabolo added that applications were also open for students who would be enrolling at higher institutions for the 2017 academic year.