The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training has voiced satisfaction with the student-centred model that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has introduced for funding applications.

NSFAS told the Committee on Wednesday that it was transitioning to the full roll-out of the student-centred model where students will apply directly to NSFAS, and that challenges had been noticeable since the new model was piloted in 2015.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Connie September, said the student-centred model promises much potential and that NSFAS should just perfect it and curb any challenges relating to applications.

"The transition wasn't smooth but had not been bad either. The efforts made to make sure that the poor students are accommodated and given access to higher education is most welcome," Ms September said.

NSFAS informed the Committee that students are now required to apply directly to NSFAS and that this has resulted in increased number of applications. It was revealed that 380 000 new applicants registered on the NSFAS website.

"The Committee welcomes the improved resources and the attention the TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) students are getting as well as the increased funding availed to individual students. NSFAS is in constant contact with all the stakeholders to make sure that the programme is successfully implemented," Ms September said.

She said the Committee noted that where there had been demonstrations this year, it has not been as a result of NSFAS - and that at Walter Sisulu University NSFAS has already intervened although the matter involved late applications for placement.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa