How To Verify Deceased Parents When Applying For NSFAS

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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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The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) plays a critical role in ensuring students from poor and working-class backgrounds can further their education without having to worry about the costs. 

They do this by comprehensive bursaries and student loans to deserving learners enrolled in approved courses at universities and TVET colleges. The funding not only includes money for tuition and registration fees but also includes several allowances for food, accommodation and learning materials.

This comprehensive approach to student funding makes NSFAS funding highly sought after with thousands of students applying for funding annually. 

NSFAS will only fund students who meet the eligibility criteria with the main one being that they come from a household with a combined income of less than R350,000 annually. 

While a student may be rejected from receiving NSFAS funding if they come from a home that exceeds the household income threshold, their household income could change at any time. One circumstance that often leads to a change in household income is the death of a parent/caregiver. 

NSFAS revealed that if students' parents died, they can submit a NSFAS appeal if they believe they meet the eligibility criteria. In some cases, the parent has already passed away but information accessed by NSFAS points to the contrary leaving them to reject a student's funding application. 

NSFAS spokesperson, Ishmael Mnisi explained that a student who was previously rejected from NSFAS funding can submit an appeal if their parents passed away. 

They explained that during the application process, NSFAS collaborates with several government entities to verify information submitted by students. These entities include the South African Revenue Service, the Department of Home Affairs and the South African Social Security Agency. 

We take an application that comes to us through home affairs, firstly to determine the parents of the applicant. Based on that they [Home Affairs] will tell us whose parents appear on the Home Affairs database. 

Mnisi said if Home Affairs determines that the parent is still alive, they will reject a student's NSFAS bursary application. 

"If the Home Affairs data indicates that Ishmael is the father and Ishmael is alive, we have no obligation to question that information that comes from them [home affairs]," explained the spokesperson.

If a student has proof that their parent has passed away they can submit an NSFAS appeal and provide proof. 

If a student has contradictory information, to say well my parent is no more, and they have proof of that, we allow them to appeal our decision if it was based on the fact that the information we have verified indicates that the parent is still alive, and yet the student says no that is not true. 

Mnisi said it is the student's responsibility to provide proof that their parents have died which led to the change in their household income. This proof can be in the form of a death certificate. 

"The obligation becomes on the student to send us information that provides us to the contrary, Here’s a death certificate that one of my parents is no more."

This proof [death certificate] will be relayed to Home Affairs to be verified. If Home Affairs determines that the parent has passed away, NSFAS will reconsider the student’s application and make a funding decision.  

If we go back to Home Affairs and say well we have received this [death certificate] do you know about this and if Home Affairs says yes indeed we have made an error, we reverse our decision and allocate a bursary or loan to that student. 

This process is also reflected in the NSFAS eligibility criteria when it comes to which students can submit an appeal. 

Appeals from students who exceed the income thresholds will only be considered if: A key contributor to their household income has become incapacitated or is deceased since the submission of their application.

Suggested Article:

NSFAS confirming funding for dropouts

Sometimes circumstances beyond your control can force you to put your studies on hold. But, do you have to reapply for NSFAS if you dropped out?

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