The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Blade Nzimande, expressed optimism regarding the improvements implemented by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). They believe several system enhancements will contribute to a streamlined application process for students.
NSFAS 2024 applications recently opened and thousands of students are expected to apply for comprehensive funding from the government bursary scheme. More than one million students received funding from NSFAS in 2023.
During a briefing, Nzimande covered various topics, including the commencement of NSFAS funding applications for the 2024 academic year and the overall preparedness of the scheme to administer funding to deserving students.
NSFAS 2024 applications opened on Tuesday, 21 November 2023 with the minister urging all eligible students to apply for a NSFAS Bursary.
The minister believes that multiple improvements introduced by NSFAS, coupled with the introduction of a mobile application will improve the application process for students.
Nzimande explained that as part of the NSFAS digital strategy, to date the scheme has improved its student application portal, following the experiences encountered this year.
Whatsapp and USSD functionality have already been introduced to assist students with the tracking of applications for 2023 and will now be expanding to include more funding statuses such as confirmation of registration information.
NSFAS Mobile Application
Nzimande also 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 NSFAS mobile app will include biometric capabilities to be rolled out later in the year.
I am also pleased to announce that NSFAS has a mobile app that can be downloaded on IOS, Android and Huawei to allow students to apply seamlessly. Congratulations to NSFAS for introducing this modern technology innovation which will make it easy for students to apply for NSFAS funding.
The NSFAS mobile application will be launched soon. In the meantime, students are encouraged to submit applications using the myNSFAS portal.
Students are also cautioned against applying for NSFAS funding on unofficial websites and mobile applications.
The financial aid scheme says several websites and mobile applications have been set up by unscrupulous individuals in an attempt to steal personal information from unsuspecting students.
NSFAS has discovered several bogus mobile apps operating online under the NSFAS’ name.
NSFAS Call Centre
The minister also called for improvements in the NSFAS call centre operations, responding to persistent complaints from students struggling to receive assistance. He directed NSFAS to implement these improvements before the commencement of the academic year.
NSFAS is currently funding over one million students at public universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges.
Eligible students in approved courses at public institutions can apply for NSFAS, with financial eligibility criteria remaining consistent for 2024. Household income limits are set at R350,000 for able-bodied applicants and R600,000 for disabled students.
Approved NSFAS funding covers tuition and registration fees, along with various allowances to offset associated study costs.