With 10 days left to apply for funding to study at open universities and TVET colleges for 2020, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has called on prospective students to visit agency offices that provide facilities for them to submit their applications.

“As part of the intensified application drive, NSFAS has rolled out a regional ‘town to town’ outreach intervention programme; to reach out to prospective beneficiaries and students who have not submitted their applications,” the fund said in a statement on Wednesday.

Students who do not have access to computer facilities to apply for funding can visit the National Youth Development Agency offices, local libraries, Government and Communication and Information System, Thusong Centres and the Department of Basic Education District Teacher Development centres.

NSFAS said its programmes were meant to open up opportunities and access to higher education for students, mainly from disadvantaged communities and provinces where previously application numbers have been low.

“Over the next few days, NSFAS officers will continue to be deployed across all nine provinces with focus on Eastern Cape, Free State, North West, Northern Cape and Western Cape due to the low number of applications received in these provinces,” it said.

The number of applications across the country received to date is 365 922, with the highest number of applicants from KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng, and Limpopo. 

NSFAS Administrator Dr Randall Carolissen said that although the number of applicants living with disabilities increased significantly to over a 1,000, it remains disappointingly low. 

Carolissen said that NSFAS has prioritised engagements with relevant government departments and agencies to improve these applications.

-ANA; editing by Naomi Mackay