UniVen says NSFAS qualifying students will be allowed to register

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The University of Venda in Limpopo says all students who qualify for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will be allowed to register for the 2021 academic year.

The institution’s Student Representative Council (SRC) has accused NSFAS of not processing applications of first-year students on time. It says students have not received any form of communication after submitting applications for financial assistance.

SRC President Gift Chauke says students that owe the institution have also been barred from registering for the 2021 academic year.

“First-year students that are admitted, that had applied for NSFAS in time but due to impenitency of NSFAS they have not yet responded to their applications and these are people who cannot even afford R1 for registration. These are students who are from poor backgrounds, all first-years must be unblocked and register for free and their registration fee must be added on their tuition fees because we cannot blame them for the negligence of NSFAS,” says Chauke.

The University of Venda has denied the claims. Spokesperson, Takalani Dzaga, says the registration process is running smoothly.

“The registration process at the University of Venda is going on smoothly and our registration is online and in line with the pronouncement by the Minister of Higher Education and Training.

The university management has taken a decision to allow all NSFAS qualifying students to register for the 2021 academic year and the university has also taken a decision to extend registration by two weeks,” says Dzaga.

The University of Venda says only 3 600 spaces are available for first-year students.

University of Limpopo protest

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Student Command and South African Students Congress (Sasco) have meanwhile protested at the University of Limpopo over registration challenges and financial exclusion.

Student leaders on Friday handed over a memorandum, outlining their grievances over NSFAS allocation to the university management.

They want students with outstanding fees to be allowed to register. Both the EFF Student Command and SASCO have accused the university of not clearing the debt owed by some students to allow them to register.

“The fundamental issue that we are actually advocating for now is the clearance of all students, for them to register because you will relate that our parents lost jobs due to COVID-19,  so as a result, our students are still owing the institution. So, the institution says that students must pay those outstanding balances before they register, the second fundamental issue is this one of academic exclusion,” says the provincial coordinator of the EFF Student Command, Nicodemus Mojela.

The University of Limpopo says it plans to register just above 5 000 first-year students.