Ricochet News

NMMU announces gap funding grant for NSFAS and 'missing middle' students

Dec 21, 2016
NMMU announces gap funding grant for NSFAS and 'missing middle' students

While the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), like the majority of South African institutions, announced an 8% increase on tuition and residence fees on 9 December 2016 in line with the Department of Higher Education and Training’s (DHET) cap so as to ensure the University’s sustainability, the university on Wednesday announced a grant for the so-called "missing middle" students.

"While tuition and residence fees for 2017 will be 8% more than the current fees, which is the same as the 2015 fees due to the 0% increase in 2016, students, who have applied and qualify for National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding and 'missing middle' students – those defined by government as having combined family income of not more than R600 000 – are eligible for gap funding from government to cover the increase," the university said.

"For these qualifying students, the gap funding grant – for which there is no need to pay back as it is a grant and not a loan – will cover the difference between the 2017 and current fee. For example, if a student’s 2016 tuition and residence fees were R40 000, an 8% increase would thus make 2017 fees R43 200. The grant would pay for the additional R3200 as a result of the increase, and not the full fee amount.

"NSFAS-qualifying students and those from no-fee paying (Quintile 1 to 3) schools need not apply as their application for the gap funding is automatic."

The university said that it should be noted, however, that falling within the “missing middle” category does not mean:

  • being exempted from making the required down payments
  • not having to settle 2016 debt before registering in 2017

The DHET grant covers residence fees for university accommodation only. Accredited accommodation does not apply, according to DHET’s listed criteria.

The following criteria are applicable when applying for the 2017 Fee Adjustment Grant:

  • Only South African and permanent residence citizens studying towards under- and post-graduate qualifications in 2017
  • Applicant and/or their direct family (parents and legal guardians) must earn no more than R600 000 a year.

"NMMU supports all efforts to ensure that no academically-deserving, financially needy students are prevented from accessing higher education," it said.

"To this end, and in keeping with a DHET communique to ensure no financial exclusion, the University is calling on all qualifying students to apply for the gap funding by following the link: http://financialaid.nmmu.ac.za."