Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor is concerned about the delays facing students who are eligible for grants from the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), says her spokesman, Lunga Ngqengelele. "She is asking the department to work with NSFAS to resolve the issues as a matter of urgency," he said. NSFAS appears to have been caught on the back foot by former president Jacob Zuma’s announcement in December that higher education was to be free for students from poor and working-class families as of 2018. The changes meant NSFAS had to process grants for more students and shift from providing loans to bursaries for all first-year students at technical and vocational education training (TVET) colleges. NSFAS received 408,000 applications for funding for 2018, and by early March had still not processed all of them. Students at universities and colleges have been affected by the delays, which have sparked protests at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus, Walte...

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