Under the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, students receive comprehensive funding to cover all their study-related expenses. Nevertheless, recent developments indicate that the allowance provided for student housing may not be sufficient. Student accommodation providers may be reported to the Competition Commission by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). It follows reports that several accommodation providers raised their prices beyond the cap introduced by NSFAS in 2023.
New NSFAS Accommodation Cap Expected To Impact Students
NSFAS introduced an accommodation allowance cap of R45,000 earlier this year to manage the unregulated costs of student housing and prevent profiteering and price collusion.
Some private and institutional accommodation was above the cap of R45,000, but the financial aid scheme is working with the affected institutions to accelerate accreditation.
Four universities left students without housing because they could not afford the prices set by the providers. Students from the University of Pretoria, Stellenbosch University, University of Witwatersrand, and University of Cape Town participated in this study.
The Nsfas spokesperson warned that thousands of students will be affected if challenges concerning student accommodation costs are not addressed. Since Nsfas-funded students cannot afford to pay R9,000 a month in rent, this is a problem.
Nsfas spends R18 billion annually on student accommodation. The financial aid scheme, however, said that accommodation providers can charge up to R90,000 for beds annually.
Student housing costs could adversely impact the futures of thousands of students, according to the financial aid scheme.
In NSFAS will play an active role in determining whether student accommodation facilities are appropriate for students and conducive to their development by 2023.
Students accommodation providers will be identified and accredited by Nsfas in this way. Institutions were previously responsible for this.
According to Blade Nzimande, the higher education minister, R7.584 billion has been invested in infrastructure projects across 26 South African universities. Through this investment, student accommodation facilities will be improved and expanded throughout the country.
A total of 16,858 student beds will be delivered across 11 universities with R2.953 billion of this investment. By doing this, we will be able to add 15,898 new beds and refurbish 960 beds.”
According to NSFAS, they intend to engage with accommodation providers to discuss accommodating students within the R45,000 cap.