Adhering to the instructions of the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande, on 27 March, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) released a statement detailing its plan of operations during the national lockdown. The statement made it clear that the lockdown will not affect the payment of allowances to students. All NSFAS offices and the contact centre will be closed but this will not affect student allowances, appeals and the processing of applications. Instead, an alternative virtual contact centre has been set up and is accessible from 08h30 to 17h00, Monday to Friday. The alternative communication channels and platforms are the official NSFAS social media pages, email address, and NSFAS Connect via the official website, www.nsfas.org.za.
A UP NSFAS student said she is happy to have received her March allowance, and that allowances will continue to be paid out to students, especially those that are still in university residences. She says the allowance helps people buy data for internet access to complete assignments. Students are encouraged to monitor their NSFAS profiles for funding statuses and updates. Students can expect to receive their allowances as usual during the nation-wide lockdown.
visuals: Jonathan Oladeji