Can You Have A Bursary While Being Funded By NSFAS?

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A bursary allows students to obtain their tertiary education goals without having to worry about the costs. The most popular bursary in South Africa funds more than a million students, however, is the bursary available to students who have received other bursaries?

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The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) provides comprehensive bursaries to deserving students from poor and working class backgrounds. However, many have been wondering whether you can receive a NSFAS bursary in addition to receiving a bursary. 

NSFAS funds over a million students at public universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges. The bursaries are highly sought after as they go beyond covering tuition and registration fees. 

Funded students receive several NSFAS allowances to cover costs while they obtain their first tertiary education qualification. This includes an accommodation allowance, meal allowance and a stationery allowance. Alternatively, students may receive a transport allowance if they live close to the institution they are studying at. 

While many students who meet the eligibility criteria for NSFAS will be extremely grateful for their comprehensive bursary, several students may receive bursary offers from other entities or individuals. 

Can you have NSFAS and also another bursary?

This brings us to an important question. Can you have another bursary while being funded by NSFAS? The answer to this is no, you can't. It all depends on the type of bursary you have been approved for. 

In this article, we provide you with a guide on whether you can still be funded by NSFAS if you have a bursary and what you need to do if you receive another bursary offer in addition to being funded by NSFAS. So the status of your NSFAS bursary check depends on whether you have a bursary.

Scenario 1 - Full Bursary from Another Source

If you secure a full bursary from an external source you will not be eligible to receive NSFAS funding. You will be required to take several steps to cancel your NSFAS bursary or the full bursary. 

The first thing you will be required to do if you are offered a full bursary is to Inform NSFAS within 10 days of receiving the alternative bursary.

The NSFAS bursary must be withdrawn promptly. NSFAS will cease making further payments to you.

Then it's time for the reconciliation process. During the reconciliation process, any excess funds must be refunded to NSFAS.

Or, you can cancel the bursary and instead choose NSFAS funding.

Scenario 2 - Partial Bursary from Another Source

If you receive a partial bursary from another source you must notify NSFAS of the new funding conditions within 10 days of receiving the partial bursary.

If you receive a partial bursary, the NSFAS bursary must be reduced, and any excess funds must be refunded to NSFAS during the reconciliation process.

Losing Your Bursary From Another Funder

In the event of losing financial aid from another funder, you may reapply for a NSFAS bursary. 

If the NSFAS application window is closed, and you lose external funding, you can apply through your institution. You must ensure you meet all NSFAS eligibility criteria as outlined in the policy standard. 

A student who receives financial aid from a funder other than NSFAS and loses this financial aid during the academic term and the NSFAS window for applications is not open, is allowed to apply to NSFAS for financial aid through their institution, provided that they meet all NSFAS eligibility criteria as set out in this policy standard. 

It's important to note that NSFAS will not fund a student defunded by another entity, particularly if the reason for defunding is poor academic performance.

The information in this article is based on the 2024 NSFAS ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA AND CONDITIONS FOR FINANCIAL AID.

Suggested Article:

nsfas table to find out more about nsfas application status

NSFAS is a well-known bursary as it provides comprehensive support to poor and working class students. If you've applied and your NSFAS status is 'Awaiting Application Data', here's what this means.


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