The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is a government bursary that will assist in paying for your tertiary education if you want to study for a qualification at one of South Africa's public universities and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges.
The scheme recently opened their funding applications for all qualifying newly applying and returning tertiary students. Applications must be submitted using the NSFAS online application system.
How To Check The Status Of Your NSFAS Application
Here's how you can check the status of your NSFAS funding application, if you've already submitted one:
Enter your username and password and sign in
Click on ‘Track Funding Progress’
Track Funding Progress
After you have clicked on the 'Track Funding Progress' option, you will then receive one of several application statuses.
You will then be able to determine whether NSFAS needs to take any further action to approve or decline your funding application once you have received your funding application status For NSFAS to begin processing your application and give you the outcome, several supporting documents must be provided.
NSFAS Funding Status Codes
Furthermore, here are the funding statuses for NSFAS you might be assigned and their meanings listed below:
- Your application has been successfully loaded onto the NSFAS system.
- The bursary programme looks to see if you are a returning student and if you have any prior credentials.
- NSFAS is working with SASSA and the Department of Home Affairs to conduct third-party verification.
- NSFAS is confirming the accuracy of all the paperwork you submitted with your application.
- NSFAS is confirming the financial situation of your household as stated in your application.
Awaiting Academic Results/Acceptance:
- To make sure you meet the criteria for NSFAS funding, NSFAS is evaluating your academic performance and the status of your institution's admission. Many people discover they need to remain in this phase for a time. This is because NSFAS must wait for data from your preferred college.
Awaiting to Register:
- NSFAS is receiving data from your institution to enable them to create a bursary agreement. This is another step students find themselves on for a while. This is because NSFAS has to wait for information from your chosen institution.
Signing Of Agreement:
- For NSFAS to pay out your allowances, you must now sign your bursary agreement.
- You can now choose to have your allowances paid through your institution or the NSFAS mobile wallet system. The myNSFAS portal should be checked frequently by students for updates.
It is best to forward your query by getting in touch with NSFAS if you have to dispute a change in your application status.
NSFAS funding is available via the NSFAS website and the NSFAS application status can also be confirmed via the Student portal. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme is charged with funding students who need assistance to afford tertiary education.
The tuition fees and the NSFAS allowance provide valuable financial assistance to worthy young people who otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford to study further.
Public University or TVET College - How To Track NSFAS Application Status
NSFAS funding is available if you are going to study at university or TVET College. Applications can be made on the NSFAS website and the whole NSFAS funding process is usually very smooth.
For Sassa beneficiaries it is even simpler as NSFAS covers registration and tuition fees for applicants who have benefited from Sassa grants in the past.
Once you have made your NSFAS application it won't be too long until your NSFAS status is confirmed. The NSFAS online application form has been simplified and often you aren't even required to upload an supporting documents.
Applicants can logon to check NSFAS application status by accessing their NSFAS account on the NSFAS portal at any time.
What are the General Rules of NSFAS
The best way to make sure you don't break any of the rules of NSFAS is to read through them all so you know what they are. We've published the general rules of NSFAS here so you can read them easily.
4.2 General Conditions Of NSFAS Bursary
4.2.1 Students must be formally registered to study for an approved NSFAS funded qualification at an institution, subject to institutional DHET approved enrolment plans, and meet the financial eligibility criteria, and academic criteria before a bursary award is confirmed.
4.2.2 The financial need of the student is assessed at the point of first application, and continuing students do not need to re-apply annually, subject to paragraph 3.2.3.
4.2.3 NSFAS may for each subsequent academic term re-assess the eligibility of any funded student and reserves the right to withdraw funding if the student no longer meets the
4.2.4 Returning students and University students that move through the NSFAS funding academic pathway must re-apply and meet the continuing student academic eligibility requirements.
Students Who Change College or University
4.2.5 Students who change institution types (i.e., shift from TVET College to University or vice versa) must re-apply for funding.
4.2.6 Students who de-register or drop out during an academic term and wish to resume their studies in future academic terms, must re-apply.
4.2.7 A student can only be funded for one qualification at one institution at any one time.
4.2.8 Applicants for financial aid accept the terms and conditions of the NSFAS Bursary Agreement (NBA) at the point of application, which indicates that they accept the obligations and responsibilities of the Bursary Programme should they be funded.
4.2.9 New applicants, returning and continuing students are deemed to have accepted the NBA once the NBA is issued and benefit is derived in terms of the bursary awarded, unless explicitly rejected by the student.
4.2.10 If a student receives a full bursary from another source, the student must advise NSFAS within 10 days of receipt of the alternative bursary, the NSFAS bursary must be withdrawn, and no further payments made to the student, and all excess funds must be refunded to NSFAS during the reconciliation process.
4.2.11 If a student receives a partial bursary from another source, the student must advise NSFAS of the funding conditions of the new funder within 10 days of receiving the partial bursary, the NSFAS bursary must be reduced, and any excess refunded to NSFAS during the reconciliation process.
4.2.12 As a rule, financial support granted must be distributed for tuition in the first instance, then accommodation, then other allowances as may be applicable. If the funder has specified the allocation of the financial support granted, then the excess to be returned to NSFAS is calculated on this basis.
4.2.13 A student who receives financial aid from a funder other than NSFAS and loses this financial aid during the academic term and the NSFAS window for applications is not open, is allowed to apply to NSFAS for financial aid through their institution, provided that they meet all NSFAS eligibility criteria as set out in this policy standard.
4.2.14 In respect of paragraph 3.2.13, NSFAS will not fund a student who has been defunded by another funder if the reason for that defunding is due to poor academic performance.
4.2.15 A student that no longer complies with the University N+ rule or TVET College N+ rule may not be funded.
4.2.16 Financial aid received cannot be used to settle historic debt unless it is specified as such.
4.2.17 TVET College students studying occupational programmes can only be funded for the cost of tuition for the duration of the qualification. Allowances for TVET college students studying occupational programmes can only be considered subject to clause 5.4.4 of this Eligibility Criteria.
4.2.18 NSFAS reserves the right to withdraw or cease financial aid to a student under the following circumstances:
220.127.116.11 The student no longer meets the financial or academic eligibility as set out in this policy standard; or
18.104.22.168 The student has been found to have defrauded NSFAS or another NSFAS beneficiary; or
22.214.171.124 The student was funded in error; or
126.96.36.199 Incorrect information was submitted by the institution, leading to the student being funded erroneously; or
188.8.131.52 Incorrect or false information was submitted by the student when requested to do so; or
184.108.40.206 Dual registration records have been received from different institutions for the same student and the dual registration remains unresolved.
4.2.19 NSFAS must comply with the National Treasury and PFMA requirements. As such, all NSFAS funding decisions and payments are subject to these requirements and restrictions.
4.2.20 University Specific Conditions:
220.127.116.11 Students must be studying towards their first certificate qualification or undergraduate qualification.
18.104.22.168 Students who have already studied at a University or obtained a prior University qualification do not qualify as FTEN students even if they are entering the first academic term of a new qualification. However, students starting a University qualification for the first time, but who have already achieved a TVET qualification, qualify as a University FTEN student.
22.214.171.124 Any funding received by a senior University student prior to 2018 is subject to the conditions of the Loan Agreement already signed.
126.96.36.199 University students referred to in 4.2.5 must re-apply for funding and may not register for an NCV at a TVET College.
4.2.21 Specific conditions for students living with disabilities:
188.8.131.52 Students living with disabilities are eligible for the Disability funding programme if their primary Disability is regarded as an impairment which is long-term (at least 12 months), a recurring physical, mental (psychological), intellectual or sensory impairment and
substantially limiting in that the impairment impacts their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others (as a result of a lack of support being provided) and all other eligibility criteria are met.
184.108.40.206 The definition of a primary Disability includes chronic illness or other chronic medical conditions, where this condition manifests itself as a physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment (as above) and where lack of support impacts the student’s daily functioning, severely impacting on the teaching and learning process of the student.
220.127.116.11 Chronic illness includes chronic diabetes, chronic epilepsy and chronic heart conditions.
18.104.22.168 A detailed medical report from a medical professional registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa is required to support an application for a student living with disability.
22.214.171.124 Any other chronic diseases or medical conditions can only be considered on the basis of a full medical evaluation, and a detailed report outlining how the condition is manifested in the students’ difficulties in accessing teaching and learning, with or without support.
4.3 APPROVED QUALIFICATIONS
4.3.1 The University and TVET Colleges funded qualifications are approved by the NSFAS and implemented in conjunction with this eligibility criteria.
4.3.2 University approved funded qualifications are qualifications that have been accredited by the Council on Higher Education, are registered on the NQF with the institution listed as the originator. These qualifications fall into two broad categories each of which have the following attributes on the NQF.
126.96.36.199 Certificate qualifications are qualifications that have been registered on the NQF, on NQF Level 5 and have a qualification type of Higher Certificate or National Higher Certificate.
188.8.131.52 Undergraduate qualifications are qualifications that have been registered on the NQF on:
184.108.40.206.1 NQF Level 6 and have a qualification type of Advanced Certificate, Diploma (minimum course credits of 240), Diploma (minimum course credits of 360) or National Diploma, or
220.127.116.11.2 NQF Level 7 or 8 and have a qualification type of National First Degree, or National First Degree (minimum course credits of 480).
4.3.3 TVET College approved funded qualifications fall into four broad categories, each of which have the following attributes.
18.104.22.168 Pre-Vocational Learning Programme (PLP), this qualification is not registered on the NQF and NSFAS will only fund a student for one academic term on this qualification.
22.214.171.124 NATED/Report 191 qualifications which are registered on the NQF as National N certificates. NSFAS will only fund a student for one academic term on this qualification for Report 191 introductory courses.
126.96.36.199 NC(V) qualifications which are registered on the NQF as belonging to the General and Further Education and Training Sub- framework, with the originator defined as Generic Provider – NCV and with the qualification type National Certificate.
188.8.131.52 Occupational programmes which are listed in ANNEXURE A: Occupational Qualifications approved for NSFAS Funding.
4.4 FINANCIAL ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
4.4.1 Financial eligibility criteria are used to assess prospective students applying for funding for the first time continuing and returning students.
4.4.2 HOUSEHOLD INCOME
184.108.40.206 Household income is applicable to non-SASSA recipients only and is determined as follows:
220.127.116.11.1 Where the student/ applicant is unmarried, household income is the sum of the gross income (from all sources) of the biological (or adoptive) mother, the biological (or adoptive) father and the student/ applicant.
18.104.22.168.2 Where the student/ applicant is under legal guardianship, the household income is the sum of the gross income (from all sources) of the legal guardian and that of the student/ applicant.
22.214.171.124.3 Where the student/ applicant is married, the household income (from all sources) is the sum of the gross income of the student’s spouse and that of the student/ applicant.
126.96.36.199.4 Students/ applicants who are unmarried and independent of their parents must substantiate this by submitting a report from a social worker (if the student/ applicant is not a SASSA recipient) or a court order to this effect.
4.4.3 SOCIAL GRANTS RECIPIENTS (SASSA)
188.8.131.52 Any student who is a South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) recipient, as validated by NSFAS, automatically meets the financial eligibility criteria and will be eligible for a bursary award if they are registered at an institution and are academically eligible.
4.4.4 NON-SOCIAL GRANTS RECIPIENTS (NON-SASSA):
184.108.40.206 As of the 2023 academic year, all students (except those with disabilities), irrespective of when they first registered at an institution will be assessed as financially eligible if the applicant’s household income is R350,000 or less.
220.127.116.11 Applicants living with a Disability will be assessed as financially eligible if the applicant’s household income is R600,000 or less.
4.4.5 Third party data sources
18.104.22.168 NSFAS will use any third-party data source, over and above the declared household income to determine an applicant’s financial eligibility.