A woman walks past the damaged Lviv National University of Nature Management

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has said 29 institutions that have submitted registration data for catch up payment for the 2024 academic year allowances will be paid by Friday (March 8).

Professor Lourens Van Staden, the acting Chairperson of the NSFAS, acknowledged the delay in releasing the catch-up payment for the 2024 academic year and noted that the NSFAS board decided to request the institutions in the interim to facilitate payments for February and March allowances.

"Communication was therefore sent to all universities notifying them of this decision. We also sent another communication to indicate the 2024 academic year allowances type distribution channel," Staden said, as reported by SA News.

"Financial aid managers were asked to confirm the universities allowances payment commitment dates. For Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, we will be paying through the direct payment channel," he added.

In order to support students and institutions, the scheme has made two upfront payments to all institutions. Staden said that the first upfront payment was disbursed on Jan. 31, while the second one was made on Feb. 29.

"These upfront payments were made to institutions for them to use the funds to distribute students' allowances. The majority of institutions committed to paying students from the last week of February 2024," he said.

The first upfront payment covered funds to cover one month of accommodation costs, while for medical students, provision was made for two months' worth of allowances. The second upfront payment includes allowances for books, accommodation, and transport.

The government department advanced an upfront payment to both universities and TVET colleges. Staden said for universities, the NSFAS disbursed R2.8 billion in January, noting that this disbursement doesn't include tranche payments as it will be released in April.

"We all know that in February, the university sector commences with its registration. This means that by the time the first payment is made (usually at the beginning of February), the majority of the students have already registered and are already attending classes," he said.

"This is the reason why the board ensured that the upfront payments are inclusive of the registration period commencing in January for medical students in the university sector," he added.

Staden encouraged more institutions to submit registration data to receive catch-up payments from the NSFAS.