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The National Student Financial Aid Scheme of South Africa (NSFAS) seeks to impact on South Africa`s historically skewed student population by providing student loans to enable academically deserving and financially needy students to study at university or FET College.

NSFAS provides student loans through universities

Access to education and the quality of education has been a site of struggle and contestation for decades in South Africa. It remains an integral element of the transformation of our society. Today, education represents a way out of deprivation and poverty and is essential to building a participatory democracy and promoting social inclusion of all South Africans.

9 Things you need to know about NSFAS

  1. NSFAS was established by the South African government in 1996.
  2. It was set up to ensure that students, who have the potential, but cannot afford to fund their own studies, will have access to funding for tertiary education.
  3. It is funded by the government, international donors and the private sector.
  4. TEFSA, which was established in 1991, managed and administered the scheme until 2000 when TEFSA became NSFAS.
  5. Up to 40% of a NSFAS loan may be converted into a bursary, depending on the student`s pass rate.
  6. All loan repayments are recycled to help future generations of students.
  7. The NSFAS Act of 1999 allows NSFAS to have employers deduct loan repayments from monthly salaries of those who have received assistance from the Scheme.
  8. Loan repayments are based on individuals` earnings.
  9. The interest charged on loans is subsidised and therefore considerably less than the commercial rate which is charged by banks.

How to apply for financial aid

Applications are not dealt with directly by NSFAS, so you won`t be able to get an application form from our offices. The process is as follows:

  1. First apply to the educational institution (a public university, university of technology or FET College) you plan to study at.
  2. If you are accepted for study at the institution, you can then apply for financial aid.
  3. Approach the Financial Aid Office or Student Support Centre at the institution to apply for financial assistance.
  4. The staff at these offices will explain what funds are available and how to go about applying for them.
  5. You will have to go through a Means Test, which assesses your family’s financial situation in order to see whether you can be provided with financial aid.

    The Means Test will calculate what amount, if any, your family will be expected to pay towards your studies for the year. The rest of the funds needed may be provided through a loan from NSFAS, or you may qualify for one of the bursaries administered by NSFAS.

  6. You need to take along the following documents:
    • A certified copy of your barcoded ID
    • Details relating to the household income of your family, such as your parents’ salary slips. If your parents are unemployed, provide an affidavit signed before a Commissioner of Oaths in which this is confirmed.
    • The ID books or birth certificates of other people, such as brothers and sisters, whom you regard as members of your family and who are also supported by means of the household income.
  7. You will be advised by the Financial Aid Office or Student Support Centre as to whether you have been awarded a bursary or loan administered by NSFAS.

Contact Info
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021 763 3232


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