Committee established to review NSFAS accommodation allowance

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A Working Committee has been established to review the R45 000 student allowance for accommodation at universities and colleges.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has implemented the fee as a cap on students’ accommodation and as part of controlling the unregulated increasing expenses for it.

Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Buti Manamela revealed this in Parliament during a briefing on the latest developments at universities and TVET Colleges.

He says the committee is made up of stakeholders including vice-chancellors as well as representatives of students and NSFAS.

“On the most contested allowance is the accommodation cap of student allowance of R45 000. And having had a meeting with Universities South Africa (USAf), we decided to establish a working committee comprising of the department, the Universities South Africa and vice-chancellors of all the affected institutions, to consider solutions for those affected by the R45 000 cap.”

“The committee is first meeting today [Wednesday] to look at all these cases and come up with practical solutions on how to [resolve this] matter. We [are] however, concerned about what appears to be a price collusion by some of the accommodation landlords to maximise their profits,” adds Manamela.

Meanwhile, the Wits Student Representative Council says if university management meets certain demands, it will suspend its week-long protest to allow for negotiations on the students’ initial set of demands.

The SRC held a media briefing in Johannesburg a short while ago.

The students are demanding that all those owing R150 000 or less be allowed to register, the R10 000 upfront fee for Wits residences be waived and the R45 000 NSFAS cap for other residences be scrapped.

Wits SRC president Aphiwe Mnyamana was suspended this week.

His deputy, Kamogelo Mabe says, “The police presence in and around the University precincts, we cannot reason as to why they are here. The bouncers that are on campus, are highly paid, we also call for their immediate withdrawal. We have been faced with some cases where students come forth with sexual harassment against them on our campuses. Then we come to call for an immediate stop of the processing of further suspensions.”

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