The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has received more than 300 000 applications since the opening date for 2021 application cycle on 3 August 2020.
Briefing media on the level 1 restrictions of the lockdown on Wednesday, Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, said the department is expecting a high volume of applications in the weeks leading up to the closing date in November.
“The pattern we have been seeing with regards to applications received per province remains interesting, as it has been consistent for the past three consecutive years, where Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo lead with the highest applications submitted.
“We have also seen some major improvements and positive changes from Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, as well as North West.
"To date, NSFAS has received over 300 995 applications, this number is extremely overwhelming and encouraging,” Nzimande said.
To try and reach out to students who meet the requirements and who are in need of financial assistance but unable to access NSFAS funding due to lack of internet facilities or application resources in their areas, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) offices nationwide are open to the public.
“These offices have been fully operational since 14 September 2020. Over 15 Department of Basic Education (DBE) National Teacher Centres from various districts and provinces have been made available to be utilised by applicants during this application cycle. Applicants can access these facilities during school hours,” Nzimande said.
Applications are now open for Grade 9 to 12 pupils and school leavers who want to further their studies at any public Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college or university across the country.
Applications to supply laptops now closed
A tender to supply and deliver laptops to NSFAS students was re-advertised and ran from the 4th to the 21st of September 2020.
The minister said that 140 bid proposals had been received and that NSFAS is still in the evaluation stage of the process, meaning that the awarding of the tender is expected to take place by the end of October.
“NSFAS has conducted workshops and engagements with institutions and student leadership to spearhead the project, while the tender process is underway. Updated project guidelines and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be shared with institutions concerned.
“Once a service provider has been appointed, the learning devices will be delivered directly to the students...” the Minister explained.
Only NSFAS students funded by the Higher Education and Training budget, who are currently registered for the 2020 academic year at universities and TVET colleges, qualify to receive a device.
NSFAS also welcomed an ongoing partnership with pre-funding agencies who wish to take part in the scheme.
“These pre-funding agencies must notify NSFAS in writing of their intent to opt into the scheme and confirm budget availability. All potential recipients of the digital learning devices, as well as the implementing institutions, are subject to the guidelines and must abide by the rules outlined in the guidelines,” Nzimande said.
He encouraged both students and parents to familiarise themselves with the guidelines, which are available on the NSFAS website.
68% of students need a laptop or tablet
Nzimande said the department's monitoring reports show that 68% of students say that they need a digital device such as a laptop or tablet.
He said that 94% of university students are receiving enough data to access the internet.
“It is expected that data provision will decrease over the next few months as more students return to campus and so have access to campus networks and Wi-Fi,” Nzimande said.
Applications for NSFAS funding can be submitted online via the myNSFAS portal.
All new applicants need to provide a copy of their ID or birth certificate to register and create a profile on the portal.
Applicants with existing accounts can log into their accounts.
Note that each student is only allowed to create one profile.
The required supporting documents:
Applicants ID document/card or birth certificate
ID of parents/ guardian/ spouse (or death certificate where applicable)
Applicants proof of income (if applicable and should not be older than 3 months)
Parents/ guardian/ spouse pay advice/ letter of employment/ pension advice stating income (if applicable and should not be older than 3 months.
Vulnerable children must provide a completed and signed Vulnerable Child Declaration Form.
Applicants with a disability must provide a Disability Annexure A Form (Downloadable on the website)
SASSA slips are not required and SASSA should not be included as a household income.
All applicants are encouraged to simultaneously apply for NSFAS and admission at universities or TVET colleges for 2021.
NSFAS Contact Centre is opened Monday to Friday 08:30 to 17:00.
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: National Student Financial Aid Scheme
NSFAS Connect: nsfas.org.za and log into your myNSFAS account
The closing date for these applications is November 30, 2020