The NSFAS rejects allegations of fraudulent payments
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme, which cost billions of rands, provided funding to thousands of students who weren’t eligible. The financial aid program is optimistic that, thanks to the procedures they’ve put in place recently, this won’t happen right away.
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) paid billions of rands to students who were ineligible for support, according to information provided by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) during a briefing to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
NSFAS worries that the conclusions of the SIU are being misinterpreted. Though they welcomed the SIU’s findings, the financial aid scheme wants to reassure all parties that it does not handle fraudulent transactions.
The SIU’s conclusions, according to NSFAS Board Chair Ernest Khosa, do not accurately reflect the work being done at the financial aid program right now. They clarified that the SIU’s conclusions are predicated on NSFAS operations occurring before 2023.
”Without a doubt, I will state that the problem’s magnitude has decreased from those earlier years.
President Cyril Ramaphosa charged the SIU with looking into allegations of wasteful spending and bad management at NSFAS. the time period covered by the SIU’s inquiry of NSFAS operations between August of 2016 and 2022.
They discovered that 40,000 students received NSFAS benefits inadvertently, costing the financial assistance program almost R5 billion.
According to Khosa, NSFAS’s processes and verification checks have been much enhanced, and various safeguards are now in place to guard against situations in which funding is given to students who are not eligible. The NSFAS Board wants to reassure all parties that these fraudulent acts are no longer prevalent thanks to the current systems.
NSFAS are insistent that the magnitude of fraudulent activities is not as prevalent as it was in previous years.
Slumezi Skosana, NSFAS Spokesperson said partnerships with other government departments and entities allow NSFAS to verify information submitted by students applying for funding.
Students who apply for NSFAS are required to submit several documents which prove they qualify for funding. These documents are sent by NSFAS to the Department of Home Affairs, the South African Revenue Service and other entities for verification.
A student must be a citizen of South Africa, enrolled in an approved program at a public university or Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college, and have a household income of less than R350,000 in order to be eligible for NSFAS support. The R600,000 household income cutoff applies to pupils who live with disabilities.
Skosana claims that when looking into cases of students who obtained NSFAS funds inadvertently, investigators will need to be reasonable and less litigious and harsh in their approach.
It is thought that students who obtained financing in error may have fabricated paperwork and overstated their household income to meet the requirements for assistance.