According to the Report of the Ministerial Committee on the Review of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme for 2010, 72 percent of university students who received NFSAS loans and are no longer enrolled did not complete their studies. A lack of support was one of the suggested reasons for the high number of dropouts.
The NFSAS exempts students who are still studying or who are unemployed from repaying their loans. The students who drop out of school tend to have difficulty finding employment, thus dropouts who are unable to pay their loans create a deficit in the system. All loan repayments to NFSAS are recycled to fund incoming students.
“The demand [for loans] is greater than the supply,” said Bonny Feldman, of NSFAS.
The 2010 review suggested that the students who receive NSFAS are some of the poorest, possibly the first generation in their families to attend a university, and could need more than just financial support. The review further suggests that first-year and second-year NSFAS students could be paired with “successful” senior NSFAS students for mentor meetings.
How can the student dropout rate be reduced so that students can not only find work and repay their loans, but also attain a degree? Considering the review’s recommendation, how can mentor programs be implemented to reach students in danger of not completing their studies? How can the mentors be rewarded? How can students who have dropped out of university find employment and begin repaying their loans? How can funding become available for every student to receive a tertiary education?