GOOD NEWS: Students who were will get refunds for Christmas.Picture: Tshephiso sebyeng
Former students who studied using government loans and have paid them back in full could be in for an early Christmas present when they get a cut of a whopping R77.8m in refunds.
This is because the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), that administers government student loans, are refunding students who were over-charged on loans since 1991.
The scheme’s annual financial statements show a provision of R77.8m that has to be refunded.
So why is NSFAS refunding students?
Shai Makgoba, chief director of university financial planning and information systems, said: “The incorrect method of calculating the interest had been in place since 1991, during the period that the predecessors to NSFAS, including the Tertiary Education Fund of South Africa (Tefsa), were responsible for administering student loans and bursaries.”
Some students are smiling their way to the bank as they have already been refunded.
The refunding process started on October 10 when Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande made the announcement about the refunds during the scheme’s annual financial statement.
Asked how much students could expect, Makgoba said the average by how much each student was overcharged was R2256.
The highest amount refunded so far was R35325 and the lowest amount was R38, he said.
NSFAS call centre agents are at the moment waiting with lists of names of students who qualify.
The Higher Education Department has urged former students to contact NSFAS, to find out if they are eligible for a refund.
The NSFAS, according to Makgoba, will be contacting eligible students. via sms, email, letter or by telephone to tell them the news.
However, students who think they may qualify for the refund, can also make enquiries through NSFAS.
“Once a student has made contact with NSFAS, he or she should send us a certified copy of an ID, as well as confirmation from the bank of his or her account details or the details of the bank account in which the refund will be paid,” said Makgoba.
The letter should bear the bank’s letterhead and be stamped and signed by the bank.
Both documents must be posted to the following address: NSFAS, Private Bag X1, Plumstead, 7801.
Students can enquire on 021 763 3232 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. But do not be surprised if your name is not on the list of former students who qualify
The refund does not cover all students who have paid off their loans, but only applies to students who have been identified as having been overcharged.