University of Free State student representatives call for registration period extension

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Student formations at the University of the Free State have called for the registration period to be extended after many students complained that they were struggling to complete the process.

Many students spent the night in the cold on the main campus in Bloemfontein after they were allegedly evicted from emergency accommodation.

The Student Representative Council (SRC) says the university has agreed to provide students who came to register with emergency accommodation.

Prospective students at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein have been struggling to register. Some have been on the campus for weeks, without a place to stay. They are worried that registrations will be closing soon. Those who had temporary accommodation say they were kicked out.

“Yesterday, we slept here on campus on protection services sitting down. Yah it has been tough,” says one prospective student.

“So, Monday we were evacuated from our off-campus emergency accommodation and we received the food parcels from the SRC. They told us to leave our stuff there. They were expecting us to pay them money,” says another prospective student.

“They say we did not get funded, it seems like Nsfas did not process our applications. We are still struggling to get registered.”

“Nsfas rejected my application saying that I have already graduated. So, when I call them, they refer me back to university. The university refers me back to Nsfas so I don’t know what to do.”

Student formations have called for the university to intervene.

President of the SRC at the University of the Free State, Luvuyo Jacobs, says, “Last night, we had an influx of students that needed emergency accommodation and it was the university’s agreement that, with communications that we have been having with them, that they should provide emergency accommodation to students. Last night, we found out that there were over 40 students that came at night looking for accommodation and there were no beds.”

EFF Student Command’s convenor, Sisanda Mdingane, says first-year students are anxious about what is happening.

“First time entering students are anxious about what is currently happening because the portal of Nsfas is currently slow. Students cannot access the portal as confirmation that they are being funded by Nsfas. So, as the EFF SRC, what we demand is that at least the institution gives the students the (reprieve) until Nsfas resolves or the portal comes back.”

Meanwhile, Sasco’s Deputy Secretary at the university, Milani Tshangana, says some students are staying at the bus stations.

“Students are being turned away and they cannot register, and some students are even deciding to stay home until they pay and some students don’t even have the money, and it’s just we are having a huge problem with registrations right now. It is not a flowing process, not an easy process as you can see. We have students who are even staying at our places, others are staying at bus stations and we are begging the university, anyone who can assist with accommodation for our students.”

Interim Chairperson of the DA’s Student Organisation, Thabiso Mokhatla, pleaded with the university to extend the time for registration.

“We call upon the university and plea with them can they extend the registration process a week further so that we sort out our house. So that students can register. Because education is for everyone.”

University management says it was shocked to hear that students did not have accommodation.