NSFAS first time applicants tend to experience a number of challenges when applying for funding. With Covid-19 protocols still in place, the process will be even more challenging, this is where Unisa comes in.Advertisement
The University of South Africa (Unisa) has initiated a move where it deploys representatives to communities in order to assist with NSFAS applications.
In a statement made available on its website, the university believes that a number of students will not be able to apply as Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible for applicants to present themselves in person to apply at institutions of higher learning.
Unisa further notes that many NSFAS applicants come from disadvantaged backgrounds with lack of financial means to carry out the complicated application processes, and by helping them, they will be able to pursue their academic aspirations and achieve their desired dreams.
The institution believes that applicants from rural areas are the most affected due to scarce means of access to technology.
The Western Cape Regional Students Representative Council (RSRC) Chairperson, Sifundo Ndzube, speaking from experience, says the most prevalent of the challenges is the lack of information to communities about support available to them.
Ndzube said the Langa township in Cape Town is one area within the Western Cape in need of the support as these areas don’t only lack access to information but also internet connectivity tends to be a challenge.
On 13 November 2021, a team of representatives set up a station at Langa zone 16 playpark to help with National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) applications.
The RSRC availed themselves and provided the necessary resources to assist community members with the successful submission of their NSFAS applications.
The initiative served as an opportunity to share information regarding funding and Unisa as an online learning institution, said the Chairperson. He also affirmed that his position as an RSRC is tied into helping others change their lives.
The initiative is said to have been well appreciated by the community, and Ndzube said they were able to help 80 prospective students with NSFAS funding applications.
He added that areas like Langa township underestimate the impact of data, internet, technology, and money into accessing education.
During the initiative at Langa, the RSRC said further request to visit other sections of the township were made. The RSRC plans to extend their initiative to George within the application period.