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Happy Wednesday Daily Vox readers, and welcome to our new newsletter. 

The Wednesday edition of the Top of the Vox is here to give you all the student and university-related news that you need to know. If you have any burning questions or even a story idea related to students, universities and higher education, drop us an email or get in touch via our social media channels. We are going to be covering the latest students' news with a sprinkle of great opportunities for students.

With the rising number of cases of COVID-19 in South Africa, this has been the main issue dominating the higher education sector this week. On Sunday, president Cyril Ramaphosa announced certain measures through a state of disaster to curb the virus. This included travel bans, and restricting gatherings. Universities have been forced to cancel their academic programme and come up with alternative means of finishing the term. This has also raised many issues for students who might be forced to leave their residences with no place to go.  

The Daily Vox team has decided to work from home starting from this week in order to practise social distancing. However, we will still be putting out content, and welcome any submissions. 

Latest from NSFAS

To access your funding progress through your MyNSFAS account, you are required to register or re-register a myNSFAS account.

NSFAS will be implementing safety and precautionary measures to combat the Covid-19 epidemic as per national government directive. Only 50% of the staff will be working onsite at the Nsfas offices. Students wishing to get in touch with Nsfas should use online platforms such as NSFAS Connect, email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  

Also an IMPORTANT REMINDER: The closing date for NSFAS appeals has been extended. Students at universities have until March 20 to submit their Appeals. Students studying at TVET Colleges have up until March 31 to appeal. 

To access your funding progress through your MyNSFAS account, you are required to register or re-register a myNSFAS account on http://nsfas.org.za 

What’s happening on campuses? 

With the first confirmed cases of the virus in South Africa on March 5, many universities took preemptive methods to curb the virus. Several universities disabled their biometric systems. Others set up task teams to put together a plan of action to get the university ready for dealing with possible outbreaks. Non-essential travel was also cancelled for university personnel. 

The first local transmission of the virus was confirmed at Wits University last week. Initially, Wits university suspended all contact classes and students on campus have been asked to remain in their residences. However, on March 16, the university decided to bring forward the academic break. They’ve also decided to vacate residences. UKZN suspended the academic programme and cancelled the April graduation season. UCT suspended the academic programme and has ordered residences to be vacated. UJ has suspended all contact classes and the autumn graduation has been postponed. The University of Stellenbosch has also cancelled graduations.

Wits University law students have taken the university to court over the decision to vacate residences. The case will be heard later today. UCT's SRC were also unhappy with the decision to vacate residences.

Check out OUR COVERAGE of how universities within South Africa and around the world are dealing with COVID-19.  

KEITUMETSE FATIMATA MOUTLOATSE, a feminist social worker WROTE A PIECE about the importance “social workers play in advancing people, communities and nations to bring about sustainable and equitable change for all.” 

If you’re getting bogged down by all the information out on the internet, FATIMA MOOSA has PUT TOGETHER an easy myth-buster around COVID-19. 

Some great opportunities: 

MALAYSIA: Albukhary International University Scholarship
The Albukhary International University (AIC) in Malaysia is offering undergraduate scholarships to international students who wish to study at AIC from September 2020. Applicants must be between the age of 18 and 22 years old at the time of commencing their scholarship. The applicants need to come from a low income status and must be a single marital status. [Deadline before May 2020] Find more details here.

UNITED STATES: Fulbright Foreign Student Program 2021-2022 
The Fulbright Foreign Student Scholarship is the flagship international education exchange programme sponsored by the Government of the United States of America. The scholarship is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries through educational, cultural and professional exchanges. [Deadline before April 20 2020] Find more details here.

NEW ZEALAND: Commonwealth Scholarship 2021. 
The New Zealand Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), is offering full postgraduate scholarships to international students who wish to study at any of the eleven New Zealand universities and education institutions in 2021. [Deadline is March 31 2020] Find out more details here.

MAURITIUS: Mauritius-Africa Scholarship Scheme 2020
As part of a commitment to promote capacity-building at high level across the continent, the government of Mauritius is awarding scholarships to deserving students who are resident citizens of member states of the African Union or of African Commonwealth countries for full-time, on-campus undergraduate and postgraduate programmes tenable in public Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Mauritius. [August intake deadline is March 31 2020] Find more details here

If you know of any good scholarships and opportunities for students, please drop us an email and let us know. We can’t wait to hear from you. 
If you have any urgent questions related to Nsfas or to universities, we’ve answered them here.

No Late Applications To Be Accepted

Everything You Need To Know About NSFAS 2020

However, if you have a question that we have not answered, let us know and we will try to find you an answer. 

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Until next week
From Fatima and The Daily Vox team

Remember to WASH YOUR HANDS, reach out to vulnerable people in your community, and PRACTISE SOCIAL DISTANCING. 
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