Home Education University of Pretoria Settles R400 Million Unallocated NSFAS Funds

University of Pretoria Settles R400 Million Unallocated NSFAS Funds

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Pretoria – The University of Pretoria (UP) has paid off the R400 million owed to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) confirmed on Tuesday.

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These payments correspond to unallocated funds accumulated between 2016 and 2021, with the SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago revealing striking figures. “The money was paid in four instalments of R100,000 each into the SIU’s Trust account, totalling an impressive R937,926,351 in recoveries from various higher education institutions since our NSFAS investigation launched in September 2022,” Kganyago stated.

Explaining the nature of these unallocated funds, Kganyago said these were essentially monies allotted for students who qualified for funding but then either switched institutions or deregistered. “The funds remain in the custody of the educational institution for a year,” he further clarified.

According to Kganyago, the recovery of these funds can be ascribed to “poor control systems and a lack of reconciliation processes by the NSFAS” rather than any intentional wrongdoing by the institutions of higher learning. “When approached by the SIU, the institutions cooperated, leading to a swift recovery process,” Kganyago elaborated, emphasizing the vital role of cooperation in rectifying the financial discrepancies.

The list of institutions making repayments is not short, with substantial sums being returned to the NSFAS coffers. West Coast College forked out R5,057,679; NorthLink College contributed R33,369,404.97; Walter Sisulu University parted with R19,900,174; while Nkangala TVET College and the University of Johannesburg rectified with R342,672.50 and R311,892,088.94, respectively.

“Additionally, the SIU has secured acknowledgement of debt agreements, including one with Motheo TVET College in the Free State for R38,707,884.10, and another involving parents and students amounting to R10,997,855.50 who fell outside the NSFAS funding criteria,” Kganyago further disclosed.

The SIU’s investigation has unearthed a failure by NSFAS to instate necessary controls to faithfully reconcile funds dispersed with actual student allocations annually. This oversight has led to a financial melee of overpayments and underpayments to institutions from 2017 to the present.

Nonetheless, NSFAS has recently taken corrective measures. “NSFAS has appointed a service provider to aid in performing the reconciliation with a ‘close-out reporting’ process that is currently in motion,” Kganyago articulated.

Moreover, the investigation laid bare dormant accounts in Celbux’s e-wallet/voucher payment system with an estimated R320 million unclaimed since 2018. As for NSFAS-funded accommodation, the SIU spotlighted a lack of essential details in the NSFAS system, including addresses and landlord particulars.

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