How do we decrease the dropout rates of NSFAS students?


For those of you who don’t know NSFAS is the South African government student loan and bursary scheme and it gives many students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to be given a loan for university studies.

Sadly the dropout rates at all universities of NSFAS students remain very high. So the question we are interested in solving is how do we go about reducing this dropout rate?

1. Insufficient Cognitive Skills

Many NSFAS students are not adequately prepared for university. They lack the cognitive skills required for university courses. It is clearly that part of the solution to this problem is to develop more cognitive skills possibly at school or in support courses at university. The students need to teach the children to think and question and not just apply the same formula again without understanding it.

2. Performance Character Development

In addition to lacking cognitive skills, many of the NSFAS students lack performance character including resilience and grit. Paul Tough defined “grit” as “the capacity to manage one’s behaviours and emotions to achieve one’s goals.”

Without Grit, a student will not behave in a way that ensures that they pass their courses. They may give up when they fail a test or they may be too anxious to be able to concentrate.

PATWORK has implemented a GRIT system amongst a small group of young SA NSFAS students. We measure and provide feedback on performance characteristics that are known to achieve success such as resilience, self-esteem, gratitude, and self-management.

We will keep you up-to-date on how things go.