NSFAS Halts Funding of Nursing and Teaching Qualifications

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) issued a notice regarding the defunding of Teaching and Nursing university qualifications for first-time students.

A circular notice was communicated to university registrars on 12 February over the decision from the financial aid scheme to defund multiple programmes, including Bachelor of Education (BEd)(Teaching) and Bachelor of Nursing Science (BCur)(Nursing) qualifications.

A final list of funded qualifications will be provided by the scheme but at the moment, first-time entrants (FTEN) will not be able to receive NSFAS funding for the following qualifications:

  • Any qualification with the word “National” in its title
  • BTech qualifications
  • Legacy two-year diplomas
  • Legacy NQF8 qualifications
  • BEd (Education) qualifications
  • BCur (Nursing) qualifications; and
  • Bridging programmes.

Furthermore, overall funding statuses for postgraduate and BCur qualifications are currently going under reconsideration for funding.

This decision will only affect students who are preparing to study and register at a tertiary institution for the first time.

While the circular notice has been deemed authentic, a final full list of qualifications will be communicated at a later date as discussions are ongoing between the financial aid scheme and the DHET.

A Decision Long in the Making

The NSFAS defunding of nursing and teaching qualifications for first-time students have come as a shock to many. This is especially to those who were banking on being funded by NSFAS to do these qualifications (they’re not known as some of the more popular qualifications in the country for nothing).

However, the defunding of these qualifications were forewarned by the Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Technology (HEST), Blade Nzimande.

In November 2020, Minister Nzimande spoke out over the oversubscription of certain qualifications. He pointed out that students are studying towards a career path that is not in high demand at the moment. This would in turn, increase the unemployment rate in South Africa as many would not be able to get jobs because of their qualification.

Despite this, there are still other bursary programmes (Funza Lushaka, for example) and student grants available in South Africa that can help fund students looking to study BEd or BCur programmes.

On 18 February 2021, the SA Government Gazette released an updated proposed critical skills list that could assist with overseas workers to join the South African labour force.

The list include registered nurses in a number of disciplines such as community and mental health, medical and medical practice, and more. View the full list online here.

Also Read: Unisa Registration and Assessment Changes in 2021

Published: 22 February 2021

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