Nearly R4 bln secured to fund missing middle students: Blade Nzimande

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The Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande, says his department has secured nearly R4 billion to fund the so-called missing middle students.

He’s referring to those whose parents or guardians earn between R350 000 and R600 000 per year. These students can neither afford tuition fees nor qualify for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

Nzimande appeared before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Higher Education to discuss the sector’s readiness for the 2024 academic year.

“We have raised R3.8 billion, and our figures tell us the money will go a long way in addressing the missing middle. In terms of the latest actuarial statistics we have, if we calculate families not earning R600 000 per annum,” he says.

NSFAS to fund ‘missing middle’ students in 2024: Nzimande:

Parliament has appealed to the Higher Education Department to work towards a problem-free start to the 2024 academic year.

Nzimande assured the committee that the department was putting measures in place to ensure a smooth start to the year.

The committee’s chairperson, Nompendulo Mkhatshwa, says they will conduct oversight visits to some institutions of higher education early in the new academic year to identify areas of concern.

“Given all matters raised by MPs, what will really help us depends on how fast we respond; we must engage and have conversations between now and next year; we cannot be found flat foot at all.”