Will The ISFAP Bursary Replace NSFAS?

Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme (ISFAP) is a bursary for students who require financial support to study at a tertiary institution. Which you may think sounds similar to NSFAS, well keep on reading to find out if ISFAP replaces NSFAS.


In 2016, Dr Blade Nzimande the Minister of Higher Education and Training appointed Mr Sizwe Nxasana to lead a Ministerial Task Team to explore various funding options for students who need financial assistance to study at tertiary institutions.

The report that came from this process proposed a model that brings the Public and Private sectors together.

A pilot programme was designed to test aspects of this model. In 2018 the pilot ended with ISFAP being registered as a Public Benefit Organisation.

Students who fall under the "poor" and "missing middle" category qualify for ISFAP. "Poor" and "missing middle" students are based on the student's household income. 

Students who fall under the "poor" category have a household income of R0 to R350 000 per annum and "missing middle" students have a household income of R350 000 to R600 000 per annum.

You may think ISFAP sounds similar to NSFAS and may replace NSFAS, however, ISFAP will not replace NSFAS. NSFAS will continue to fund students with a household income of R350 000 or less.

ISFAP was started to fund students who are outside the NSFAS realm.

You will qualify for the funding depending on the following:

  • Household income
  • Academic criteria and registration
  • National benchmark test
  • Matric results
  • Funder constraints

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