What is NSFAS?
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is a government student bursary scheme which receives its funding budget from, and reports to the Department of Higher Education and Training.
The NSFAS bursary scheme provides assistance in the form of bursaries to eligible students who need financial assistance for their studies at public universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges in South Africa.
NSFAS funding will cover your registration and tuition fees, accommodation fees as well as give you transport, living and book allowances to make sure that your higher education is covered far beyond what you expect with NSFAS funding.
Requirements for the NSFAS bursary
The requirements to be NSFAS funded are as follows:
- Must be a South African citizen with an ID number
- All SASSA grant recipients qualify for funding.
- Applicants must have a combined household income of not more than R350 000 per annum
- The person with a disability: Combined household income must not be more than R600 000 per annum
- If you started studying before 2018 and your household income is not more than R122 000 per annum.
- If you wish to study or are already studying at a public university or TVET college and come from a family with an income of R350 000 or less, you qualify to be funded by NSFAS.
- Your own cellphone number
Why is myNSFAS important?
myNSFAS is the platform all future and current NSFAS beneficiaries use. myNSFAS is where NSFAS applications, NSFAS status checks and anything you would need if you want to become a NSFAS student is located.
How To Check Your NSFAS Application Status
If you have submitted your NSFAS online application form, you may be wondering what the outcome is. Fortunately, you can track the status of your NSFAS online application form on the NSFAS website in a few simple steps.
Here is how to do check your NSFAS application status using your ID number for your application status.
- Log in to your myNSFAS student portal account on the NSFAS website
- Enter your ID number and password and sign in
- Click on Track Funding Progress
- You will then be able to track funding progress and check your NSFAS status
Once there, there are a number of results you might receive when doing a NSFAS status check on your computer or mobile device while applying for NSFAS funding. You may encounter terms that you are unfamiliar with, so here is a breakdown.
How To Contact NSFAS
Needing to contact NSFAS directly? NSFAS is available to assist you on any queries you have about your NSFAS bursary online application or your NSFAS account through the following contact information:
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: National Student Financial Aid Scheme
WhatsApp: +27 78 519 8006
Find everything you need to know about the NSFAS funding process and the NSFAS application system on Careers Portal.
Frequently Asked Questions About The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)
NSFAS plays an indispensable role in providing financial assistance to students pursuing higher education. Whether you're a student, parent, or a guardian, understanding NSFAS is crucial if you're eyeing post-school education in South Africa. Here's an FAQ format guide to help you grasp the key aspects of NSFAS.
1. What is NSFAS?
NSFAS is a South African government initiative designed to provide financial aid to students who cannot afford the costs of studying at tertiary institutions. This includes universities and TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) Colleges.
2. Who qualifies for NSFAS funding?
To qualify for NSFAS bursary funding:
- You must be a South African citizen with a valid ID number.
- You must be seeking to study or already studying at a public university or TVET college in South Africa.
- Your combined household income should not exceed R350,000 per annum. For students with disabilities, the household combined income threshold is R600,000 per annum.
- If you're an orphan or have parents who are both unemployed, you might also be eligible, provided other requirements are met.
3. How do I apply for NSFAS funding?
- Visit the official NSFAS portal website.
- Register as a new user and create your profile under NSFAS account.
- Once registered, log in with the NSFAS login button and click on the "Apply" tab.
- Follow the prompts, fill out all required information, and submit your application.
- After submission, you'll receive a reference number, which you should keep safe as it's essential for tracking your application's progress.
Note: Always ensure that the information provided is accurate and that you submit the necessary documents.
4. What documents do I need when applying?
Here are some of the standard documents required:
- A certified copy of your ID number or birth certificate.
- ID copies of parents, guardian, or spouse (if applicable).
- Proof of the income in the household (like payslips or affidavits if your parents are unemployed).
- For dependent applicants, a signed and completed consent form which can be downloaded from the NSFAS website.
- If you have a disability, a completed and signed Disability Annexure A form (also available on the NSFAS website).
5. How do I check the status of my NSFAS application?
To check your application status:
- Visit the NSFAS website.
- Log in using your username and password - it may also request your ID number.
- Once logged in, navigate to the "Track Application Status" tab.
- You'll be able to view the current NSFAS status of your application there. The NSFAS student portal is regularly updated so you will always be able to find the latest updates there.
6. Do I need to repay NSFAS funding?
Before 2018 NSFAS was a loan scheme. After graduation, or once they started working, beneficiaries were required to repay their NSFAS loan. However this was changed from 2018 and NSFAS became a full bursary scheme.
Students who accepted NSFAS funding when it was a loan are still expected to pay back the loan. However students who started with NSFAS from 2018 when it was turned into a bursary, are not required to pay anything back. You can check your personal details on the MyNsfas student portal
7. When Will NSFAS Applications Be Open For 2024?
NSFAS recently announced that applications for funding in 2024 will be open from the 21st of November until the end of January 2024.
NSFAS awaited the completion of the SARS tax period to ensure the availability of necessary and updated information during the application season. This strategic timing facilitates the efficient processing of a NSFAS online application and aligns with the organisation's commitment to streamlining decision-making processes.
The financial aid scheme has encouraged all students who meet the eligibility criteria to submit a NSFAS application during the prescribed application period. They also remind grade 12 learners that they do not need their matric results to submit a NSFAS online application.
NSFAS has urged all applicants to provide accurate information when submitting their NSFAS application. These mistakes can result in the student’s NSFAS 2024 application being rejected.
South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grant beneficiaries will continue to receive immediate funding decisions from NSFAS. They will also not be required to submit supporting documents, except for learners with disabilities.
8. Can I still apply if I have a previous qualification?
Generally, NSFAS is designed for first-time undergraduate students. If you have previously graduated with a qualification, you might not be eligible. However, there are exceptions, especially for postgraduate courses that are in line with priority areas set by the government. It's advisable to contact NSFAS or check their guidelines for specific details.
9. If approved, how will NSFAS funding be disbursed?
Upon approval, NSFAS will disburse funds directly to the educational institution. This covers tuition fees, accommodation, and other allowances. Certain allowances, like transport and living allowances, might be disbursed directly to the student's bank accounts. Use your NSFAS login to go online and confirm that your NSFAS status and your personal contact details listed on the official website are correct. If necessary upload the supporting documents that are needed.
10. Can I apply if I am currently funded by NSFAS but want to change my course?
Yes, you can. However, it's essential to inform NSFAS about the change to ensure that funding is adjusted accordingly. Remember, NSFAS funds a specific number of years based on the course's duration, so any extra years might not be covered.
11. What happens if my application is unsuccessful? Can I appeal?
Yes, if your NSFAS application is unsuccessful, and you believe there was an error or oversight, you can appeal the decision. The NSFAS website provides a detailed guide on the appeal process, including deadlines and the necessary documentation.
12. How many students is NSFAS currently supporting?
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) Board Chairperson Ernest Khosa said in January 2023 that the organisation received 1,5 million applications for the academic year. Around 613,000 applicants are provisionally funded for the upcoming academic year.
At the end of January, Nsfas had received 1,587,968 applications from prospective beneficiaries. A total of 613,909 applications have been provisionally funded, of which 338,320 are continuing-students and 275,589 are new applicants.
13. What is the NSFAS Mastercard account?
When the government bursary scheme announced the introduction of the new National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) mastercard for bursary recipients, it also explained that this is part of its digital transformation efforts.
“To correct issues with the payment of allowances, the Scheme sought an alternative, secure and student-centred approach which will see students receiving their allowances through a bank card,” shared the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr. Blade Nzimande.
In 2022, Nzimande also indicated that NSFAS will pilot this solution with a number of students first, following which the full roll-out will occur in a phased approach for 2023.
In a statement, the Scheme has announced:
The NSFAS Bank Account for university students is finally here.
Students have been advised to register for an account, and also check whether their institution of learning has been listed for onboarding.
Here are the institutions that will be onboarded by eZaga:
- Durban University of Technology
- Tshwane University of Technology
- University of Free State
- University of Limpopo
- University of Zululand
- Vaal University of Technology
Here are institutions that will be onboarded by Tenet Technologies:
- Cape Peninsula University of Technology
- University of Kwazulu Natal
- University of Venda
- University of Pretoria
- University of Western Cape
- University of Witwatersrand
- Walter Sisulu University.
Here are institutions that will be onboarded by Coinvest:
- Rhodes University
- Sefako Makgatho Health Science University
- Sol Plaatjie University
- Stellenbosch University
- University of Cape Town
- University of Mpumalanga
- University of South Africa
Here are institutions that will be onboarded by Noracco:
- Central University of Technology
- Mangosuthu University of Technology
- Nelson Mandela University
- North West University
- University of Fort Hare
- University of Johannesburg
Some of the NSFAS recipients have shared that they are excited as student allowances will be easily accessible through this new method and they will no longer be forced to wait in long queues to withdraw their funds.
NSFAS has promoted one of the perks of using the NSFAS bank account includes being able to put your savings to good use and invest in their future.
Students will also benefit in using their savings by starting their own business, purchasing investigating equipment whilst keeping a healthy flow of their money, says NSFAS.
By doing so, students will grant themselves a platform to have practical pre-work experience on what they are studying.
The bursary scheme has also advised students to limit the number of times that they eat out and rather do a monthly grocery shopping instead.
14. Are Personal Banking Details Necessary for NSFAS Onboarding?
The Scheme has made it clear that students will not be required to use their personal banking details to onboard onto the NSFAS Bank Account.
Once the bursary recipients have been onboarded onto the new system, they will receive a card (virtual or physical) to perform transactions as they would with mainstream bank accounts.
To onboard onto the new NSFAS Bank Account, students have been encouraged to visit the official NSFAS website or follow updates on their social media accounts for updates.
15. Will the NSFAS 'Bank Account' Mastercard continue?
After spending much of 2023 encouraging all NSFAS students to login to their NSFAS accounts and register for the new 'bank account', it transpired that the system might be cancelled.
Instead of selecting an actual bank to help them distribute funds to students, NSFAS decided to appoint 4 'fintech' companies to run their NSFAS 'bank account' scheme. This was not supported by many because it was not in the students' financial best interests. Many banks will give students preferential rates on their bank transaction fees. This won't help them if they have to make transactions from the accounts provided by these fintech providers.
Then in October 2023 the chairperson of NSFAS informed parliament that the financial distribution arrangements would be cancelled. There were no further details on when students should perform a NSFAS login to their accounts to register for the replacement system. Make sure you leave your contact details there so you can be contacted by NSFAS.