Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

Exploring the Availability, Accessibility and Adequacy of the National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme: A Case Study
Dr Thulani E Mhlongo, PhD

Research findings revealed that the provision of education and training to all citizens is fundamental to the success of any government’s overall strategy. For this to occur, strategies are being evolved globally to make scholarship schemes available to disadvantaged students. In South Africa, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is one such program which assists such students with tertiary education requirements. Unfortunately, very few studies have been conducted on the availability, accessibility and adequacy of such programs. This report presents the findings of a quantitative research project that was conducted among NSFAS Loan recipients at North-West University (Mafikeng Campus). Permission was sought from the Dean of Students and a total of 83 students were randomly selected from a list of current loan recipients. The sample frame was obtained from the Student Academic Services. The existing AMA Student Loans Questionnaire was utilized in the survey. Cross-tabulations were performed on several variables to assess whether or not any relationships existed between them. A Chi-square test was subsequently applied to ascertain if any of the relationships were statistically significant or not. The findings suggest that, the NSFAS is not easily available, accessible, or adequate. Among the student recommendations for improving the availability of, accessibility to and marketing awareness of the NSFAS, it was by 26 respondents (26.5%) that NSFAS should improve awareness in Secondary Schools of the funding available, in that it might offer needy individuals who previously believed that they had no future and opportunity to improve their lives. A further six respondents (7.2%) indicated that NSFAS should advertise their financial aid scheme more widely on university campuses. Two respondents (2.4%) stated that NSFAS should also provide financial assistance for transport, accommodation and recreational activities.

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