#BackToSchoolSA - Know This
1. The 2020 grade 12 examinations will be completed by 15 December.
2. A school break will be needed to separate the third and fourth terms.
3. The school year will be completed on 15 December 2020 for Grade R-11.
4. In terms of the new version of the school calendar, schools will resume on 24 August 2020.
STATEMENT BY HIGHER EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND INNOVATION MINISTER BLADE NZIMANDE ON THE OPENING OF NATIONAL STUDENT FINANCIAL AID SCHEME 2021 APPLICATION CYCLE.
03 August 2020
The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, officially opened the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) 2021 Application cycle, yesterday, 3rd August 2020.
This year the NSFAS application cycle will run for a period of four months starting from today August 03, 2020, with the closing date being November 30, 2020.
NSFAS applications are opened for students from poor and working-class backgrounds who wish to further their studies at any public Technical and Vocational Education and Training college (TVET) or University. To be eligible for NSFAS funding applicant must be a South African citizen; Come from a family with a combined annual household income of not more than R350 000 per annum; For students with a disability, the combined annual household income of not more than R600 000 per annum.
“In the current academic year NSFAS has funded over 700 000 students; 248 242 at TVET colleges and 481 339 at universities (students with registrations data), this is a 20% increase from the previous year when we compared registration data received in the same period 2019 versus 2020, said Minister Nzimande.
The Minister further said that NSFAS accounts for 40% of the undergraduate population at universities, and 70% at TVET colleges respectively.
Applications for 2021 funding will be done online via myNSFAS portal as per previous years. The NSFAS portal has undergone minor enhancements and changes, these changes were informed by the lessons learned in the previous application cycles. Some of the enhancements are for user experience, while some are security features which NSFAS has put in place.
New applicants need a copy of their ID or birth certificate to register and create a profile on the myNSFAS portal. Applicants with existing accounts need to log into their accounts, you’re only allowed to create one profile. The applicant will be required to give consent for personal information verification with NSFAS 3rd parties. An applicant will not proceed to create a profile without giving this consent. This feature allows NSFAS to conduct a three-step verification process with the Department of Home Affairs where an ID number will be linked to the name and surname of the applicant and parent details.
In response to the current status quo due to the COVID-19 pandemic, applicants will not be required to submit or upload the consent form, however an applicant needs to accept the electronic consent form, along with the terms and conditions for funding. Though the application system will still require a student to submit their supporting documents, which comprise of own ID copy; parent/guardian proof of income; parent/guardian ID copies; and/or Annexure A for applicants with a disability.
As part of the new and exciting innovations, NSFAS is working on finalising their Virtual Outreach project. The virtual outreach platform is an interactive live streaming session, where a user can embark on a virtual tour of NSFAS products and services, virtual exhibition simulation, real-time engagement virtually interface, watch application demonstration on how to apply, and live stream events.
“This is the greatest innovation by far, as it speaks to the current discussion around the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and how government can change lives by providing much needed services in far and wide locations using technology. NSFAS is leading in this space, Minister Nzimande said.
By benchmarking the latest innovations in March this year NSFAS launched a virtual contact centre, subsequent to the closure of its contact centre number. The virtual contact centre provides the much-needed support to students for query resolutions via social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), and NSFAS Chat a live interactive platform which accessible via the myNSFAS portal.
“I would like to thank the NSFAS Administrator Dr Randall Carolissen and his NSFAS team for his excellent leadership skills and turning around the scheme in just under two years. Dr Carolissen has been an integral part in the realisation of a much improved NSFAS, refining of critical skills, and forwarding thinking,” said the Minister.
To continue providing easy accessibility, reachability, and free access to information, NSFAS has refined and retained its existing stakeholder partnerships, while also forging new exciting partnerships which will provide customized links between an applicant and NSFAS during the application cycle and beyond.
The Minister added that he would like to share his sincere gratitude to the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). “NYDA has been instrumental in assisting applicants to use their facilities as application centres, free of charge. NYDA has centres across nine provinces, offering a variety of services to students, and out of school youth. The NYDA centres will be fully operational and accessible to applicants from 01 September 2020, during office hours”.
Through the National Integrated Social Protection Information System (NISPIS), NSFAS has access to critical data exchange hub. This system allows NSFAS to exchange data with departments and agencies within the Government Social Cluster to verify information in real-time.
This partnership has seen a dramatic improvement in approvals for South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) beneficiaries. In 2019, over 47 530 SASSA social welfare beneficiaries were funded. This year a total of 240 000 beneficiaries are funded.
Minister Nzimande said that NSFAS has strengthened its partnership with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to further increase NSFAS footprint and reachability, specifically for learners in Grade 10 to 12. DBE will link NSFAS with Provinces and District offices and provide database of National Teachers Centres which will assist with applications. In this partnership NSFAS may also publish and incorporate its information on the National Senior Certificate (NSC) timetable. The training of District Curriculum Life Orientation Specialist on NSFAS funding is envisaged for subsequent application cycles.
“While great work for 2021 application cycle is underway, I want to reassure our current beneficiaries that the department, along with NSFAS, is working tirelessly ensuring that the 2020 academic year is saved and concluded to usher in the new academic year, said Minister Nzimande.
Minister Nzimande urges qualifying students to make use of this opportunity and apply for funding on time. “We need to foster a culture of doing things on time and don’t leave them to the last hour. NSFAS has made arrangements to provide applications centres across the country, utilising facilities of generous stakeholders. These efforts are meant to bridge the gap in inequality”.
Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology