NSFAS is the National Student Financial Aid Scheme which is the country's most popular bursary fund for students at public institutions like universities and TVET Colleges. NSFAS is a government organisation that falls under the Department of Higher Education and Training.
NSFAS application and registration opens in the later part of the year for students with the NSFAS closing date usually being in the next calendar year. For the 2024 academic year applications in November 2023 and close on the 31st January 2024.
Because NSFAS is the most sought-after bursary funding scheme in the country, many students will be forced to practice patience whilst awaiting confirmation for funding, as it does take a while in many cases. Nonetheless, having NSFAS bursary funding proves extremely beneficial to students in financial need.
In 2017 the South African Government announced they wanted to help working class families in the country pay for their children's university or college education needs. What was previously a loan scheme was turned into a full bursary.
What does NSFAS funding cover for students?
NSFAS gives bursaries to students from poor and working-class backgrounds who are accepted into higher education which goes beyond just paying for your fees. They'll also provide financial support for your registration and tuition fees, accommodation, transport, and books.
Details are available via the NSFAS portal - also known as the MyNsfas student portal.
NSFAS funded applicants who are living in self-catering residence will also benefit from receiving monthly living allowances and other financial support. This is one of many reasons why funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme is the most popular of all bursary schemes. NSFAS accommodation allowances have been capped at R45 000 per year which has been very difficult for some students.
So what are the requirements to be eligible for NSFAS?
The most important requirement for NSFAS applications to be successful is that your combined income in the household should come to R350 000 or less per year. This means that if you add up everyone's salaries in your house for the year and it comes to over R350 000, you won't qualify. You also have to be a South African citizen.
If the applicant qualifies as a student with a disability then the ceiling on this combined household income increases to R600,000 per annum.
Usually, students and future students will submit their NSFAS online application for a NSFAS bursary using myNSFAS account if they need financial assistance for their studies. The financial aid application is made near the end of the calendar year - in the year before your studies begin.
Students attending national universities should already have applied for the course they want to study as the closing dates are usually earlier in the year. So don't wait for NSFAS approval before applying for NSFAS.
How To Create A myNSFAS Login Account - Login To NSFAS
Creating a myNSFAS account is the first step to starting your NSFAS funding journey with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. You will need this My NSFAS account to apply, check your NSFAS application status and to keep up with your NSFAS journey.
You can create a myNSFAS account by going to the official NSFAS website, clicking on My NSFAS and providing NSFAS with the information they require.
How To Log Into Your myNSFAS Account
Doing your myNSFAS login, account details such as your ID number and myNSFAS password will need to be entered.
It's important that you don't share your myNSFAS login details with anyone and to keep it safe and secure on your account.
What is the NSFAS application process?
As mentioned, to submit a NSFAS bursary funding application for financial aid through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, you will need to create a myNSFAS account and then login to your myNSFAS account. You can do your whole NSFAS application online on a computer or mobile device as the whole NSFAS application system has been brought online and is completely paperless.
NSFAS also has apps available for both Android and iPhone devices.
Remember that you can get NSFAS higher education funding for any public university or TVET college in South Africa. TVET College courses are usually funded by NSFAS but there are some courses there that NSFAS will not fund. You can check NSFAS status at the vocational training facility where you want to study. Any campus of a TVET College is acceptable - it just depends on the course you want to study.
A public university includes any of the Universities of Technology as well as the comprehensive universities. Your National Student Financial Aid Scheme NSFAS bursary application won't be accepted if you want to study at a private educational college or institution. These are higher education institutions but are not public so do not qualify.
You will then need to provide the required details such as your ID number and your own cellphone number and other personal contact details about you before the application closing date. Then, you will need to submit supporting documents such as your ID document with your NSFAS online application form. It is important to always be aware of your NSFAS application status.
NSFAS filtering your application will then be NSFAS conducting third party checks with the home affairs database and SARS to check things such as your combined household income. This is their way of checking if you qualify for NSFAS bursary funding.
It's therefore important for NSFAS applicants who need financial assistance to constantly check their NSFAS login details - and login status - on the myNSFAS account screen, upload all the documents NSFAS needs for their NSFAS bursary online application to be valid - as well as your ID number.
It is vitally important to know your NSFAS application status when you have made your NSFAS application.
Ultimately, whether eligible students qualify for NSFAS funding is based on their higher education admission status and NSFAS will then mark your NSFAS status as 'awaiting registration' after there has been qualifications validation.
How To Check Your NSFAS Application Status Using Your NSFAS Account
Once you've done your myNSFAS account login with your ID number, you will then be able to track your NSFAS application progress on the NSFAS student portal account to check your NSFAS status. Sometimes you will need to submit documents, such as your ID document, for your NSFAS bursary funding to be considered. This is to show your eligibility for financial aid.
There are many different NSFAS login application status messages you will see on the NSFAS portal. Careers Portal covers all areas of higher education so has everything you need to know about your NSFAS application, NSFAS account and the latest updates about NSFAS allowances. With perseverance you will eventually get the NSFAS application status you are hoping for.
Always make sure you are checking your own MyNsfas account as each person has different details. If you ever think that someone else has access to your account then you should reset MyNsfas portal password to keep your account secure.
What Your NSFAS Status Check Updates Mean
One of the most common NSFAS status messages you will see on your MyNsfas account is the NSFAS 'evaluation' status, when tracking your NSFAS application on the NSFAS website. This means that NSFAS is verifying all of the supporting required documents you have submitted during your NSFAS login application.
Careers Portal has everything you need to know about your MyNSFAS account, your NSFAS application process and what the NSFAS funding process. We are not in competition with the MyNsfas student portal account which has your personal information on you NSFAS bursary which comes directly from NSFAS.
How To Contact NSFAS
Toll free number: 0800 067 327
E-mail: [email protected]
NSFAS' other social media pages:
Facebook: National Student Financial Aid Scheme
Frequently Asked Questions About The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)
NSFAS plays an indispensable role in providing financial assistance to students pursuing higher education. Whether you're a student, parent, or a guardian, understanding NSFAS is crucial if you're eyeing post-school education in South Africa. Here's an FAQ format guide to help you grasp the key aspects of NSFAS.
1. What is NSFAS?
NSFAS is a South African government initiative designed to provide financial aid to students who cannot afford the costs of studying at tertiary institutions. This includes universities and TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) Colleges.
2. Who qualifies for NSFAS funding?
To qualify for NSFAS bursary funding:
- You must be a South African citizen with a valid ID number.
- You must be seeking to study or already studying at a public university or TVET college in South Africa.
- Your combined household income should not exceed R350,000 per annum. For students with disabilities, the household combined income threshold is R600,000 per annum.
- If you're an orphan or have parents who are both unemployed, you might also be eligible, provided other requirements are met.
3. How do I apply for NSFAS funding?
- Visit the official NSFAS website.
- Register as a new user and create your profile under NSFAS account.
- Once registered, log in with the NSFAS login button and click on the "Apply" tab.
- Follow the prompts, fill out all required information, and submit your application.
- After submission, you'll receive a reference number, which you should keep safe as it's essential for tracking your application's progress.
Note: Always ensure that the information provided is accurate and that you submit the necessary documents.
4. What documents do I need when applying?
Here are some of the standard documents required:
- A certified copy of your ID number or birth certificate.
- ID copies of parents, guardian, or spouse (if applicable).
- Proof of the income in the household (like payslips or affidavits if your parents are unemployed).
- For dependent applicants, a signed and completed consent form which can be downloaded from the NSFAS website.
- If you have a disability, a completed and signed Disability Annexure A form (also available on the NSFAS website).
5. How do I check the status of my NSFAS application?
To check your application status:
- Visit the NSFAS website.
- Log in using your username and password - it may also request your ID number.
- Once logged in, navigate to the "Track Application Status" tab.
- You'll be able to view the current NSFAS status of your application there. The NSFAS student portal is regularly updated so you will always be able to find the latest updates there.
6. If approved, how will NSFAS funding be disbursed?
Upon approval, NSFAS will disburse funds directly to the educational institution. This covers tuition fees, accommodation, and other allowances. Certain allowances, like transport and living allowances, might be disbursed directly to the student's bank accounts. Use your NSFAS login to go online and confirm that your NSFAS status is correct.
7. Do I need to repay NSFAS funding?
Before 2018 NSFAS was a loan scheme. After graduation, or once they started working, beneficiaries were required to repay their NSFAS loan. However this was changed from 2018 and NSFAS became a full bursary scheme.
Students who accepted NSFAS funding when it was a loan are still expected to pay back the loan. However students who started with NSFAS from 2018 when it was turned into a bursary, are not required to pay anything back.
8. Can I apply if I am currently funded by NSFAS but want to change my course?
Yes, you can. However, it's essential to inform NSFAS about the change to ensure that funding is adjusted accordingly. Remember, NSFAS funds a specific number of years based on the course's duration, so any extra years might not be covered.
9. Can I still apply if I have a previous qualification?
Generally, NSFAS is designed for first-time undergraduate students. If you have previously graduated with a qualification, you might not be eligible. However, there are exceptions, especially for postgraduate courses that are in line with priority areas set by the government. It's advisable to contact NSFAS or check their guidelines for specific details.
10. What happens if my application is unsuccessful? Can I appeal?
Yes, if your NSFAS application is unsuccessful, and you believe there was an error or oversight, you can appeal the decision. The NSFAS website provides a detailed guide on the appeal process, including deadlines and the necessary documentation.
11. How many students is NSFAS currently supporting?
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) Board Chairperson Ernest Khosa said in January 2023 that the organisation received 1,5 million applications for the academic year. Around 613,000 applicants are provisionally funded for the upcoming academic year.
At the end of January, Nsfas had received 1,587,968 applications from prospective beneficiaries. A total of 613,909 applications have been provisionally funded, of which 338,320 are continuing-students and 275,589 are new applicants.
12. What is the NSFAS Mastercard account?
When the government bursary scheme announced the introduction of the new National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) mastercard for bursary recipients, it also explained that this is part of its digital transformation efforts.
“To correct issues with the payment of allowances, the Scheme sought an alternative, secure and student-centred approach which will see students receiving their allowances through a bank card,” shared the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr. Blade Nzimande.
In 2022, Nzimande also indicated that NSFAS will pilot this solution with a number of students first, following which the full roll-out will occur in a phased approach for 2023.
In a statement, the Scheme has announced:
The NSFAS Bank Account for university students is finally here.
Students have been advised to register for an account, and also check whether their institution of learning has been listed for onboarding.
Here are the institutions that will be onboarded by eZaga:
- Durban University of Technology
- Tshwane University of Technology
- University of Free State
- University of Limpopo
- University of Zululand
- Vaal University of Technology
Here are institutions that will be onboarded by Tenet Technologies:
- Cape Peninsula University of Technology
- University of Kwazulu Natal
- University of Venda
- University of Pretoria
- University of Western Cape
- University of Witwatersrand
- Walter Sisulu University.
Here are institutions that will be onboarded by Coinvest:
- Rhodes University
- Sefako Makgatho Health Science University
- Sol Plaatjie University
- Stellenbosch University
- University of Cape Town
- University of Mpumalanga
- University of South Africa
Here are institutions that will be onboarded by Noracco:
- Central University of Technology
- Mangosuthu University of Technology
- Nelson Mandela University
- North West University
- University of Fort Hare
- University of Johannesburg
Some of the NSFAS recipients have shared that they are excited as student allowances will be easily accessible through this new method and they will no longer be forced to wait in long queues to withdraw their funds.
NSFAS has promoted one of the perks of using the NSFAS bank account includes being able to put your savings to good use and invest in their future.
Students will also benefit in using their savings by starting their own business, purchasing investigating equipment whilst keeping a healthy flow of their money, says NSFAS.
By doing so, students will grant themselves a platform to have practical pre-work experience on what they are studying.
The bursary scheme has also advised students to limit the number of times that they eat out and rather do a monthly grocery shopping instead.
13. Are Personal Banking Details Necessary for NSFAS Onboarding?
The Scheme has made it clear that students will not be required to use their personal banking details to onboard onto the NSFAS Bank Account.
Once the bursary recipients have been onboarded onto the new system, they will receive a card (virtual or physical) to perform transactions as they would with mainstream bank accounts.
To onboard onto the new NSFAS Bank Account, students have been encouraged to visit the official NSFAS website or follow updates on their social media accounts for updates.
14. Will the NSFAS 'Bank Account' Mastercard continue?
After spending much of 2023 encouraging all NSFAS students to login to their NSFAS accounts and register for the new 'bank account', it transpired that the system might be cancelled.
Instead of selecting an actual bank to help them distribute funds to students, NSFAS decided to appoint 4 'fintech' companies to run their NSFAS 'bank account' scheme. This was not supported by many because it was not in the students' financial best interests. Many banks will give students preferential rates on their bank transaction fees. This won't help them if they have to make transactions from the accounts provided by these fintech providers.
Then in October 2023 the chairperson of NSFAS informed parliament that the financial distribution arrangements would be cancelled. There were no further details on when students should perform a NSFAS login to their accounts to register for the replacement system. Make sure you leave your contact details there so you can be contacted by NSFAS.