NSFAS makes progress in securing student accommodation

  • NSFAS says it has registered over 88 000 beds in a bid to provide accommodation to its student beneficiaries.
  • In January, some beneficiaries were forced to sleep in school halls as not enough accredited accommodation was made available by then.
  • NSFAS has already provisionally funded over 1 million students.

Despite growing uncertainties surrounding operations at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), the latest from the government entity is that it is making progress in providing accommodation for its student beneficiaries.

So far the scheme has registered 88 705 beds for its students at both universities and TVET colleges, according to NSFAS Acting Chairperson Prof. Lourens van Staden. Van Staden took over the reins as previous chair Ernest Khoza took a leave of absence at the end of 2023 to deal with corruption allegations levied against him.

Van Staden explained that of the 40 institutions in South Africa at which NSFAS beneficiaries study, only 28 have sent accommodation lists to the scheme. The acting chair said 10 institutions sent lists in batches, while some are still engaging with NSFAS on contractual obligations and others have requested assistance before submitting lists.

“To date, out of 40 institutions in the pilot, 30 have placed students in accredited properties. Out of 10 institutions, five supported by the NSFAS team will continue with placements, while three are still in discussion with NSFAS. Two will submit once placements have happened,” explained Van Staden at a media briefing on Monday.

The organisations looking to register and receive accreditation for any accommodation they can provide to NSFAS students can do so on the online portal.

Van Staden makes it clear that NSFAS doesn’t have any agreements for student beds at unaccredited accommodation providers. “Institutions apply different approaches to manage unaccredited accommodation, and it is in the resolve of NSFAS that in the near future, no NSFAS-funded student will be residing in unaccredited accommodation,” said the acting chairperson.

Despite the work done, there have been over 1 million young people who have received provisional funding from the scheme. While not every single beneficiary will require accommodation from the scheme, it is possible that the 80 000 beds may not be enough to fit the need.

The latest 10 000 or so beds were found in the last few weeks, as the scheme had registered over 77 000 beds in the middle of February. At that time, students around the country were facing accommodation challenges, according to GroundUp.

Hundreds of students had to be placed in emergency accommodation at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). They had been sleeping in a hall of the school without mattresses since late January.

NSFAS recently changed its application and funding criteria and urged applicants to check their statuses on the official website.


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