TVET college students say they aren’t getting their NSFAS transport allowance

Students at technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges say they’re facing an uphill battle with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) over transport allowances.

For South Africa’s poorest students, covering your fees is just the first hurdle. Day-to-day expenses, like paying for transport to and from campus could also make or break your prospects of graduating.

In January, students shut down 15 TVET colleges over unresolved issues including inadequate NSFAS funding and late payments for accommodation and transport. Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has admitted to administrative problems at TVET colleges over the years; still the problem hasn’t gone away. In May, Northlink College in the Western Cape shut its doors after students protested over unpaid transport allowances. Last year, students from Sedibeng College in Vanderbijlpark protested over the same issue.

*Fefekazi Mjanxa, a final year student in education and development at Buffalo City College in East London told The Daily Vox transport costs are a serious issue for many students on NSFAS.

“Some of us are struggling to go to school because we don’t have money for transport. We miss practicals and tests because money for travelling becomes a problem and we get into trouble for something we cannot control,” she said.

Mjanxa said that there is lack of communication between NSFAS and the college. “You go to the finance offices at school and they tell you that the reason you didn’t receive your transport allowance is because you don’t qualify, but when you call NSFAS, they tell you that your transport allowance has been sent to the school,” she said.

Buffalo City College did not respond to a request for comment.

Students at Port Elizabeth College (PE College) say they’ve experienced similar issues. PE College student *Jonathan Hlekani told the Daily Vox he was meant to receive R5 000 for transport this year, but had still not received anything.

“Some students only receive R100 for transport a month. You can’t even use that to transport yourself for a week to school,” he said.

Hlekani said students had approached the college about the matter but have not received any feedback.

PE College spokesperson Thomas Rademeyer told The Daily Vox the college is not responsible for students not receiving their NSFAS transport allowance. “We have a database application and we submit it on their behalf, or we assist them with the online application. Once they’ve registered with NSFAS, it then communicates directly with the students and not with us,” he said.

Rademeyer said travel allowances are distributed through sBux, the NSFAS payment system which pays student allowances in the form of vouchers sent to students’ cellphones. “We don’t touch that money at all, it doesn’t come to us in any way, it goes straight to the student,” he said.

NSFAS spokesperson Kagisho Mamabolo told The Daily Vox NSFAS have not received any complaints from students who did not receive transport allowance. He said R2.4 billion was allocated towards TVET colleges in 2017 and that R263.2 million of this went to the Eastern Cape.

Left behind
According to the department of higher education and training, 205 000 university students and 200 000 TVET students were to receive NSFAS funding in 2017.

But many TVET still students feel their issues, including the question of transport allowances, haven’t been addressed, either by government or by the #FeesMustFall movement.

BCC student *Sinoxolo Mfixi believes government should be prioritising college students, not university students, when it comes to NSFAS budget allocations.

“You will think that, because we are students studying at cheaper colleges than universities, we are not affected by things like money and funding, but we are. Just because I pay R10 000 and a student from university pays R50 000 a year, doesn’t mean I can afford it. That is too much for me and I think that’s what people fail to understand,” she said.

*Names have been changed

Featured image by Aaisha Dadi Patel

 

13 Comments
  1. Innocentia says

    Since I started studying at Tshwane North College @ Temba campus 2016 2nd semester I have applied for a bursary, since 2016 until now 2018 I never have received my accommodation allowance for N4-5 now am doing my last semester still no reply,when I check at student support I have been told that I am not in the system

  2. ZAMANI says

    am stdying at mnambithi tvet college exakheni…..i havent got my NSFAS Money just because i was late to register, is that fair?? how am gonna get it? coz am 100% sure that Government is giving every student!!!

  3. ZAMANI says

    am stdying at mnambithi tvet college ezakheni…..i havent got my NSFAS Money just because i was late to register, is that fair?? how am gonna get it? coz am 100% sure that Government is giving every student!!!

  4. Sibonile says

    I apply for nsfas 2017 and I get it but I haven’t receive my bus allowance and accomodation allowance .how I am go to get it

  5. Conny says

    I applied for NSFAS and yes they are paying for my fees but the problem is that i do not get transport allowance or that of accomodation.How will i travel to school when i do not have money?Sometimes i do not get a lift

  6. donald says

    I applied for nsfas I signed sop form but I didn’t get my transport allowance

  7. Desiree says

    I applied for nsfas,i signed sop,i get the book and food allowances but i don’t get the transport allowance,im struggling to get the money to buy ticket for bus and now is like im a part time learner beacause of my absentism and arriving late in class.

  8. rirhandzu mabaso says

    I applied for NSFAS, I also sign the SOP, I’m studying at Sedibeng TVET college at vanderbijlpark, they say we must submit our bank statement for accommodation allowance but we getting nothing.

  9. philimon says

    I have applied for accommodation allowance but haven’t received anything so far, im studying at waterberg tvet and I did sign my sop

  10. Khaola Emma says

    I applied for nsfas this year early what I want to know us that nsfas pay us transport allowance for six months or every month

  11. Mokete says

    2016 and this year I did not receive transport allowance. I’m a student at Sedibeng TVET college Sebokeng campus. it pains me to see other students receive transport money 3 times when I’m getting nothing.

  12. Palesa Sello says

    I am about to graduate but i have never receive transport nor food allowance

  13. julius says

    hi my name is julius thopola from katlehong i passed grade 12 with maths and science and i do qualify to study 2019 at tvet college i have applied for nsfas and ill be applying for nated course january 2019 but i would like to also get an allowance since i am unemployed and depend only on my single mother who is a panssioner i am hoping that i will also get an allowance because i am going to need one to study next year at kempton park because i would like to study avionics please call me on 0813235050 or email thopolamj@gmail.com

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.