The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has opened its 2024 applications, offering students a revamped application system. Unlike previous years, applicants are not required to submit certified documents when applying for the 2023 NSFAS applications.
Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, Blade Nzimande, briefed stakeholders on Tuesday, covering various topics, including the opening of NSFAS funding applications for the 2024 academic year and the overall readiness of the scheme to administer bursaries.
The minister outlined the opening and closing dates of the application cycle and provided an update on the enhancements made to the NSFAS funding application portal.
2024 NSFAS Applications
Nzimande is calling on all students, even those rejected for NSFAS bursaries in 2023, to apply. NSFAS officially opened applications on Tuesday, 21 November 2023, with the application period remaining open until 31 January 2023.
We urge students to apply for NSFAS; that's their future for those who qualify.
Currently, NSFAS is funding over one million students at public universities and Technical and Vocational (TVET) Colleges.
Concerns have been raised by several stakeholders about the late opening of the 2024 NSFAS applications. Nzimande clarified that NSFAS opened applications in November 2023 to allow the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to complete the tax season.
This information is crucial for NSFAS to ensure that only students meeting the financial eligibility requirements receive funding. The strategic timing facilitates the efficient processing of NSFAS online applications and aligns with the organisation's commitment to streamlining decision-making processes.
We encourage all students who wish to study in the post-school education and training sector to ensure they apply on time. It is also important for students to note that they don't need results when entering post-school education and training for the first time.
Nzimande added that Sassa grant beneficiaries will continue to receive immediate funding decisions from NSFAS.
No Supporting Documents When Applying
In 2024, no supporting documents will be required when students apply. Students need only their personal details and Identification Documents.
However, students living with disabilities are required to submit the disability annexure form.
Nzimande explained that collaboration with other state departments, including SARS, Home Affairs, and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), allows them to verify students' information and assess their eligibility.
Who Qualifies For NSFAS
Applicants may not have a household income exceeding R350,000, while disabled students may not have a household income exceeding R600,000.
This government is committed to providing funding for post-school education for the children of the poor and working class.
Students must be registered at a public tertiary education institution before they can receive NSFAS funding.
NSFAS Mobile Application
The minister commended NSFAS on the launch of a mobile application for 2024 applications. The NSFAS application will be available for iPhone operating systems (iOS), Android, and HUAWEI devices.
The mobile app will include biometric capabilities to be rolled out later in the year. Additionally, students will have the option to track their 2024 NSFAS application statuses and funding via WhatsApp at 078 519 8006 and USSD at 12067327#. Nzimande said the mobile app will allow students to easily apply for funding.
The 2024 funding policy is almost complete, with plans to make it available to the public before the end of November 2023.