NSFAS beneficiaries who got their loans in 2017 or before that must repay those loans, the organisation said this week.
The national student financial aid scheme has been helping poor and working-class students for years with study loans.
Until 2018, most of the money given out by the scheme was actually a loan that graduates had to pay back once they finished their studies and began working.
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That changed when then-president Jacob Zuma announced free education in December 2017 and the loans were converted into bursaries.
This means that those who qualified for financial aid after 2018 will now receive free education for the duration of their studies.
“We are currently collecting an average of R50 million per month,” he said.
“NSFAS beneficiaries who had received study loans during the 2017 academic year and prior are required to make repayments once they are employed and earning an income above R30 000 per annum.
“We urge all NSFAS beneficiaries who have not yet initiated repayments to do what is right and repay their loans. Repayments contribute to a pool of funds that the scheme used to disburse to other eligible disadvantaged students to also access higher education learning.”
Mamabolo said NSFAS had a partnership with SARS, which provides for SARS to disclose to NSFAS, debtors’ names, their tax reference numbers, personal contact details, their employers’ names and contacts, and other non-financial information.
“We have also collaborated with professional debt collection companies and other public entities to track debtors who are earning a salary, but not repaying their NSFAS loans; and debtors who have defaulted in repayments because of various reasons. While this option is available for us, we still prefer to first invite our debtors to personally contact us and make their own repayment arrangements with us.”
There are three repayment options, namely debit order, electronic funds transfer or salary deductions.
There is no time limit given for repayment, since this is determined by the salary of the debtor, and his or her ability to repay.
Blessing Mampuru, who is currently funded by NSFAS, said people must pay back the money.
“They should think of other students who also want to study,” Mampuru said.
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