The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) plays an important role in ensuring that students from poor and working-class backgrounds can access tertiary education.
They do this by providing comprehensive bursaries to deserving students who have secured a place at a public university or TVET College. A NSFAS bursary will cover a student's tuition and accommodation fees. Students are also provided with a meal, transport and stationery allowance.
When Can You Apply For NSFAS?
The application period for NSFAS bursaries is open a few months prior to the start of the academic year. The financial aid scheme has revealed that all students who require funding and meet the eligibility criteria can apply for funding.
Can Rejected NSFAS Applicants Reapply For Funding?
Yes, applicants who were rejected from receiving NSFAS bursaries can reapply for NSFAS.
NSFAS explained, “If you have applied for NSFAS in prior years and your application was not approved but you still need funding for 2024, you may apply again if you meet the funding criteria.”
Here’s How To Apply For NSFAS Bursary Funding
- Login into your myNsfas account
- Enter the information required by Nsfas
- Click on ‘Apply’
- Fill in the details that apply to you (fathers details and/or mothers details and/or guardians' details and/or spouse's details for married students) and Click Next once you have captured all the details
- Once you have completed all required fields and steps, you must upload the necessary documents,
- Once you have uploaded all the necessary documents, Click 'Next'
- Confirm that the details and the documents you provided are correct and click ‘submit’
Do You Have To Reapply Each Year Of Your Course?
Many students have raised questions on whether they need to reapply for NSFAS funding if they were approved for funding in the past.
According to NSFAS, students are funded for the duration of their studies granted that they pass their modules and meet the academic requirements. This means that they do not need to reapply for funding at the start of each academic year or when NSFAS applications open.
Only In These Cases Should You Reapply For NSFAS
- If you are doing a certificate qualification and you are finishing that year, you will need to reapply for undergraduate funding.
- If you currently studying at a TVET college and you want to study at university the next year, you should reapply and vice versa.
- Students who de-register or drop out during an academic term and wish to resume their studies in future academic terms, must re-apply.
If the bursary scheme has rejected your application, you will get an opportunity to appeal the funding decision during the appeals window. Students must lodge an appeal within 30 days of having been assessed as unsuccessful.
Who Is Eligible For NSFAS Bursaries?
To qualify for NSFAS bursaries, students who need the financial aid must come from homes where the combined household income does not exceed R350,000 per annum. Students who have a disability can have a combined household income not exceeding R600,000.
Students must be registered or intending to register in an approved course at a public university or Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college. NSFAS bursaries can only go to South African citizens who meet the academic requirements and other eligibility criteria for their courses.
Frequently Asked Questions About the NSFAS Bursary
1. Who qualifies for NSFAS funding? National Student Financial Aid Scheme NSFAS funding is primarily for South African citizens who are studying or intend to study at public universities or TVET colleges, come from a household with a combined annual income of less than R350,000, and meet the specific admission criteria of the institution. Applications open near the end of the year and you apply online..
2. How do I apply for NSFAS? Applications are submitted online via the NSFAS website. You'll need to create an account, fill in the NSFAS application form, and upload the required supporting documents with your online application. You use the same process to re apply if you were rejected on a previous application. Returning students, or continuing students, do not need to re apply. As long as your meet the passing requirements you will be automatically funded.
3. Is NSFAS a loan or a bursary scheme? Since 2018, NSFAS has been converted into a bursary scheme for qualifying students, which means it does not need to be repaid. Prior to that, it functioned as a loan system.
4. How do I check my NSFAS application status? You can check your NSFAS application status by logging into your account on the NSFAS website. Once logged in you will be able to see your NSFAS status.
5. What does NSFAS support cover? NSFAS provides coverage for a range of student necessities, including tuition fees, accommodation, meals, transport, and learning materials.
6. What documents do I need to apply for NSFAS? The NSFAS application process has been made much simpler because they are in direct contact with other government departments like Home Affairs, SARS, SASSA and others. So usually you don't need to submit any documents when you apply. If there are any complications with your application they will get back to you and tell you which supporting documents you need to submit.
7. Can I apply for NSFAS if I'm already a university student? Yes, students already enrolled at a university or TVET college can apply for NSFAS funding, provided they meet the qualifying criteria.
8. Does NSFAS fund postgraduate studies? NSFAS funding is typically for undergraduate courses. Some postgraduate qualifications, like PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education), may be funded based on the availability of funds and the field of study.
9. What happens if I fail some modules, will NSFAS continue to fund me? NSFAS may continue to fund you, but it depends on the NSFAS policy at the time. Typically, you need to pass a certain percentage of your modules to continue receiving funding.
10. When do I need to reapply for NSFAS? Students need to reapply for NSFAS each academic year within the specified application period.
11. Can NSFAS fund me studying part-time? Part-time students at universities are not typically funded by NSFAS. However, some part-time students at TVET colleges may be eligible for NSFAS funding, subject to meeting other qualifying criteria.