Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, following the directives of the Department of Higher Education and Training, has approved the 2024 NSFAS Eligibility Criteria and Conditions for financial aid. This approval marks a significant milestone, as these criteria delineate the students eligible for funding in the current academic year and the terms under which they will maintain their funding in subsequent years.
The newly sanctioned criteria pertain to students enrolled in Public Universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges. Key adjustments include revised NSFAS accommodation caps and living allowances aimed at bridging the gap between university and TVET college students. Additionally, stringent academic eligibility criteria emphasize the importance of academic progression for NSFAS-funded students.
In 2024, both continuing and First Time Entering Students (FTEN) at universities must attain a credit pass rate of 50%. To ensure academic success for the 2025 funding year, continuing and FTEN students must achieve a course credit pass rate of 60% by the end of the 2024 academic year.
Failure to meet the 60% course credit requirement by the end of 2024 will result in non-receipt of NSFAS funding in 2025.
TVET College Students
NSFAS bursaries for TVET college students are contingent upon passing at least five subjects at the previous NC(V) level and progressing to the next NC(V) level. For Report 191 programme/NATED programmes, students must pass a minimum of three subjects at the previous N-Level to qualify for a bursary and progress to the next Report 191 level.
Academic progression criteria for continuing students in occupational programmes will be determined by TVET colleges, with results communicated to NSFAS.
General NSFAS Eligibility Requirements
In 2024, NSFAS-funded students who deregister or drop out during an academic term and seek to resume their studies in subsequent terms must reapply for funding. Students exceeding the NSFAS N+Rule for university or TVET college terms will not receive funding.
The 2024 university N+ Rule is based on a student's duration of registration in the higher education sector, while the TVET college N+ Rule is tied to NSFAS-funded academic terms at TVET Colleges. The additional NSFAS-funded academic term may encompass repeating any level from entry to exit.
It's important to note that the N+ Rule does not apply to occupational programmes, as they are aligned with employment contracts that do not accommodate the N+1 study period.
NSFAS funding cannot be utilized to settle historic debt unless specifically stipulated.
NSFAS 2024 Allowances
The 2024 NSFAS eligibility criteria also confirm increased allowances. Minister Nzimande initially disclosed these increments in January 2024.
For university students residing in university-managed self-catering and accredited off-campus accommodation, the annual cap is set at R50,000 in metro areas and R41,000 elsewhere. University-managed catered accommodation is capped at R66,500 in metros and R57,500 elsewhere, per beneficiary.
TVET college students in managed self-catered and accredited off-campus accommodation have a cap of R50,000 in metros and R41,000 elsewhere, while college-owned catered residences are capped at R60,000 in metros and R51,000 elsewhere, per beneficiary.
In 2024, the living allowance is R10,000 for TVET college students and R16,500 for university students annually, disbursed monthly over ten months.