Last week, a student activist advised potential NSFAS students who were grant recipients they could go straight to the Wits University financial aid office where they would be “automatically treated as a NSFAS student even without confirmation from the national office”.
While NSFAS spokesperson Kagisho Mamabolo denied this claim, saying no financial aid office made funding decisions, another tweet resurfaced a week later by another user advising that one could even use this option if a family member was a social grant recipient.
He said students could obtain a letter confirming the grant recipient from the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and this could be used to automatically qualify for financial aid. This, he said applied to students who did not even apply for NSFAS or those who applied but had not received a response.
Asked if this backdoor application system was indeed available to students, Mamabolo told The Citizen that all social grant beneficiaries who applied for NSFAS were verified with the department of social development to check they were indeed beneficiaries.
“This verification covers beneficiaries that are currently on Sassa or received Sassa in the past seven years.
“SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) beneficiaries are therefore not required to submit anything during the application.
“This is because NSFAS uses the applicant’s ID number as proof to check with the Sassa database,” he said.
Applicants who were not on the Sassa grant system but received the social grant benefits through the Isibindi Programme were also funded by NSFAS without any extra documentation.
“NSFAS is working with Isibindi Programme to ensure that all vulnerable children and youth, including child-headed households that have become a common and integral part of NSFAS funding, are preapproved as eligible for NSFAS.”
Meanwhile, the SA Students’ Congress (Sasco) alerted The Citizen to planned protests tomorrow at the University of South Africa (Unisa) main campus in Pretoria after the organisation received complaints pertaining to unsuccessful NSFAS applications and registration fees.