Measuring the impact of the new higher education and training funding policy

In December 2017, then president Jacob Zuma officially announced a new post school funding policy. Starting from the 2018 academic year, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) grants bursaries instead of loans to undergraduate students with family incomes below R350 000. This is a huge and potentially contentious commitment from government in the face of competing demands for government resources. On the other hand, the change in the funding policy could improve access to post school education and increase student academic success. This could translate into improved labour market outcomes and therefore contribute towards breaking the cycle of inequality perpetuated by unequal access to skills. Evaluating the impact of this new funding policy has therefore become one of the key focus areas of the Siyaphambili research initiative.

Research questions

  • How has the change in funding policy affected the applicant and enrolment pool for university and TVET?
  • What are the enrolment effects of extending funding to the missing middle?
  • How does the change from loan to bursary affect student academic performance and graduation?
  • How does the change in the funding policy affect students post qualification choices?

This project has received funding from the Kresge Foundation and from the Centre for Higher Education.