Yes, you will still be funded by NSFAS if you change the course you're standing. That's the message that came from the Department of Higher Education today.
Funding will also still be in place if you transfer to another institution.
The Department released a statement which read:
The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, would like to restate the NSFAS funding criteria that no NSFAS beneficiaries will be affected when they change their course or their institution of learning.
The period that you're funded by NSFAS is based on academic eligibility testing and the N+ rule.
N refers to the minimum qualification completion time. This is the regulation time specified by the institution for a course which will funded by NSFAS.
It's important to remember that N+1 applies to first-time entering students first registered after December 2017, while N+2 applies to students who first registered before January 2018.
So, this then means that it's not about where you're registered but rather the duration you've been registered at a higher education institution, whether it be more than one or not, it all falls under one total.
It is important to further note that, the N+ rule is not based on the number of years that a student has been funded, but on the number of years that the student has been registered for tertiary study at any public university in South Africa, regardless of institution change.
The rule change came as a result of NSFAS changing from a loan scheme to a bursary scheme in 2018.
“If a student is transferred from any other public university, regardless of whether they were funded at that university, the number of years already registered for the qualification will be counted as part of the minimum qualification completion time,” said Minister Nzimande.
Your funding will only be stopped if you no longer meet the academic requirements needed to stay funded, if you exceed your N+ time or if you move between institutions without informing NSFAS that you've made the move.
NSFAS provides bursaries to students who come from poor and working class backgrounds. The NSFAS bursary covers tuition fees, registration fees, accommodation, travel and other allowances.