The evolution of National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding

OUTPUT TYPE: Policy briefs
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2018
TITLE AUTHOR(S): H.Bhorat, M.Kimani, N.Pillay
KEYWORDS: FUNDING, NATIONAL STUDENT FINANCIAL AID SCHEME (NSFAS), UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
DEPARTMENT: Education and Skills Development (ESD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10856

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Abstract

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) plays an important role in increasing the number of opportunities for entry into the higher education system in South Africa. A study offering an overview of the demographics and performance of NSFAS beneficiaries at public universities over the period 2000 to 2012 reveals that the number of NSFAS recipients grew by 260% to cover 20% of all university students. The NSFAS has been particularly successful at targeting women and African, Coloured and Indian students. While historically disadvantaged students have benefited, there are some differences in the size of awards received across races. Trends that are encouraging include a positive association between NSFAS award sizes and student performance, as measured by both the 'subject pass rate' and the likelihood of passing all subjects. This trend is slightly stronger at historically black institutions (HBIs) than at historically white institutions (HWIs).