Does NSFAS Still Provide Book Vouchers?

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) provides fully subsidised free higher education and training for poor and working class South Africans. So does NSFAS still provide book vouchers now that students are making use of online learning? Keep reading to find out. 


The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is a government student bursary scheme which receives its funding budget from, and reports to the Department of Higher Education and Training. NSFAS will cover more than just your tuition fees, should you qualify.

NSFAS offers bursaries to South African students who plan to study at public universities and TVET colleges. They cover funding for registration, tuition and allowances. 

In the past NSFAS has provided book vouchers as part of their funding so that students are able to purchase any books related to their course of study. 

So will they still be providing these book vouchers?

The answer is no they won't and NSFAS has said that this is due to many reasons including the fact that learning is now moving towards online platform. 

The following are the reasons why NSFAS no longer issues book vouchers:

  • students were becoming targets of voucher scams 
  • There were commercial interests by merchants providing services to students at a fee using vouchers. 
  • Many students were trading the book vouchers for cash outside many supermarkets. 
  • The voucher system was very limited to selected merchants who monopololised the student market 
  • These vouchers also didn't provide students with the financial freedom on where to purchase books, including second-hand retailers. 
  • The book allowance had been increasingly extended to a learning materials allowance that included laptops and tablets. 

NSFAS states that the call to change the book vouchers to cash was one of demands by the student leadership in the country, as part of their input in the policy governing the higher education student funding. 

View the NSFAS website for more information. 

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