The foundation helps with the education of the children in its care

Minister of Higher Education and Innovation Blade Nzimande appointed Sithembiso Freeman Nomvalo as the new administrator of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) after dissolving the previous board citing non-performance of basic duties.

The NSFAS, established in 1999, is a South African government department that provides financial assistance to eligible students (belonging to low-income households) who want to pursue education at public universities and colleges.

Speaking at a media briefing held in Pretoria on Sunday, Nzimande said the newly appointed administrator has incredible knowledge and a record of accomplishment in public finance and government processes.

The minister said Nomvalo, who has 25 years of working experience in the public as well as the private sector, has been assigned to take over the governance, management and administration of NSFAS for one year.

Nomvalo will be responsible for resolving the data integration challenges immediately, finalizing all the necessary funding decisions and outstanding payments including student accommodation while supervising the opening of the 2025 online applications process.

Nzimande also listed out the reasons of dissolving the previous board on April 11.

"Through various formal engagements, as Minister, I have consistently raised my concerns and unhappiness with the outgone NSFAS Board, about the inability of NSFAS to carry out and implement some of the most basic responsibilities allocated to it," he said, SA News reported.

He mentioned that the NSFAS board had many problems including one big issue of ending contracts with companies that handled direct payments.

"This has resulted in unnecessary stress for students and their parents, and also continues to threaten the very stability of some of our TVET [Technical Vocational Education and Training] colleges and universities," he explained.

He added, "Despite several engagements with myself, NSFAS continues to face serious challenges in its business processes, IT [information and technology] systems, capacity, and policies and controls."

Considering the value NSFAS provides to the students, the minister said it has supported more than five million beneficiaries since its inception and produced hundreds of thousands of skilled professionals, especially from poor and working-class sections of society across South Africa.

"This is definitely one of the most important achievements of this government over the past 30 years of our democracy and this must be celebrated as such," he said.

Last month, NSFAS announced it has received more than one million applications for funding.