How NSFAS Works If You Study An Occupational Programme

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NSFAS is a crucial financial aid program in South Africa, providing bursaries and loans to eligible students enrolled in approved courses at universities and TVET Colleges. One type of programme funded by NSFAS is Occupational Programmes.

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Funding provided by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) goes beyond just tuition and registration fees. NSFAS students receive regular allowances to cover essential living expenses like accommodation, food, and learning materials.

NSFAS funding is targeted to those wanting to study at one of the 26 public universities or 50 TVET Colleges in South Africa. One programme which NSFAS funds is Occupational Programmes done through TVET Colleges.

What is an Occupational Programme?

Occupational Programmes are offered at TVET Colleges and sees students studying towards a trade, occupation, or profession. During the programme, students do work-based learning and gain knowledge of practical skills and work experience.

Occupational Programmes consists of a minimum of 25 credits. These programmes include Learnerships, Apprenticeships and Skills Programmes.

Examples of Occupational Programmes include Hairdressing, Early Childhood Development, Automotive, Mechanical, Electronics and more.

Does NSFAS Cover Occupational Programmes?

Yes, NSFAS does cover students who are studying Occupational Programmes. However, funding for these students are different when compared to other programmes.

How NSFAS Funding Works For Occupational Programme Students

NSFAS has said that TVET College students studying occupational programmes can only be funded for the cost of tuition for the duration of the qualification.

NSFAS Allowances

TVET College students studying on an occupational qualification will only qualify for allowances if they are in simulated training. These students can qualify for accommodation allowances, travel allowances, personal allowances and learning material allowances.

This then means that if students who registered on an occupational qualification have an employment contract and are paid a stipend won't qualify for any NSFAS allowances.

N+ Rule

As for how the NSFAS N+ rule works for Occupational Programmes, NSFAS has said:

The N+ Rule does not apply to occupational programmes.

This is due to these programmes being aligned to employment contracts and the N+1 period of study is not applied in this case.

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NSFAS appeals

NSFAS provides comprehensive bursaries to students who meet the household income eligibility criteria. Some students whose applications were rejected because they exceeded the household income threshold can submit an appeal if their parent died and their household income changed.

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