What is NSFAS?
NSFAS is the National Student Financial Aid Scheme which is a government loan and bursary fund for students who need financial assistance, which is delivered through the NSFAS bursary funding scheme. The NSFAS bursary online application and registration opens in the later part of the year for students with the NSFAS closing date usually being in the next calendar year.
What Funding NSFAS Provides
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) provides bursaries and financial assistance to students from poor and working class backgrounds which goes beyond just paying for your fees. They’ll also pay for your higher education costs including, registration, accommodation, transport, books through NSFAS's various allowances which are detailed on the NSFAS website.
Funding is available for higher education students at public universities, universities of technology or TVET colleges.
So what are the requirements for a NSFAS application?
The most important requirement for your NSFAS financial aid application form is that your household income should come to R350 000 or less per year. This means that if you add up everyone’s salaries in your house for the year and it comes to over R350 000, you won’t qualify. You have to be a South African citizen to qualify for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme NSFAS funding.
Usually, students and future students start the NSFAS application process by submitting their NSFAS online application for NSFAS bursaries using the myNSFAS student portal. This is also where you check your Nsfas status. You must submit your application before the closing date.
Careers Portal has everything you need to know about NSFAS, NSFAS applications and NSFAS allowances. We also provide a guide on how to submit your online application.
How To Make Your NSFAS Application
When you decide you want to make a NSFAS financial aid application you must have internet access to apply online. Before you apply online at NSFAS you will need to first create a myNSFAS account, which you can do by clicking here. Once your account is up and running you will follow the following steps.
- Click on the 'APPLY' tab and complete all the sections provided.
- You need to supply your own cellphone number and ID number
- Upload required documents where applicable - this will usually be your ID number and document - it may be your birth certificate in some circumstances.
- And then you click submit. Make sure you complete your application before the closing date
What Supporting Documents Are Needed For NSFAS Applications?
Supporting documents and information for your National Student Financial Aid Scheme NSFAS online application include:
- Certified copies of your South African ID or birth certificate
- a working cellphone number/contact details
- a statement providing proof of your financial eligibility (proof of income)
- your current email address
- your spouse's ID (if applicable)
- your consent form is sometimes needed
Once you completed all these steps, your NSFAS application will be officially submitted. You must of course make sure you submit your NSFAS application and supporting documents before the closing of applications date.
The NSFAS application period and the application period for the university or college that you want to study at usually don't align. So we would encourage applicants to make sure they apply for the university or college they want to study at before they apply for NSFAS.
Look out for the closing date which will be widely publicised and submit all your documents and submit them before that date. Once you have submitted successfully to your college or university you will be in a good position to apply for NSFAS.
What Does NSFAS Do?
NSFAS provides bursaries to prospective students from poor and working class backgrounds which goes beyond just paying for your fees. The financial aid will also pay for your registration, accommodation, transport, books through NSFAS allowances. Most courses at public TVET colleges are funded by NSFAS. You can make an online application via the website as long as its before the closing date.
NSFAS Funding Requirements
So what are the requirements for NSFAS if you require assistance and apply online? NSFAS identifies eligible students based on the information you provide about you Matric results and your family's income for the year.
The most important requirement for NSFAS is that your combined household income should come to R350 000 or less per year. This means that if you add up everyone’s salaries in your house for the year and it comes to over R350 000, you won’t qualify.
If you are a student with a disability then this amount increases to R600 000 because NSFAS supports access to higher education for students with disabilities.
It is important not to lie about the financial eligibility requirements as NSFAS will check with organisations like SARS. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme each year retracts funding from students who lied about their families' financial status.
The government has said it aims to support all students from working class families who qualify to study further. Sassa grant recipients are automatically approved for NSFAS bursary funding so it's easier when you make a NSFAS application.
How To Submit A Request For Financial Aid To NSFAS
Usually, students and future students will submit their NSFAS online application for NSFAS financial aid using myNSFAS, which is the NSFAS official website and student portal. You will also check the status of your NSFAS application for financial assistance on the MyNsfas online application portal. We encourage applicants to apply early and we also encourage applicants to apply for the university or college they are interested in before the NSFAS applications open.
What Are The Nsfas Contact Details?
If you can't track funding progress of your financial aid application online you can also contact NSFAS on their toll free number (08 000 67327) and they will be able to give out your NSFAS application status. You have to confirm your identity before they will confirm your NSFAS status.
When Should You Apply For NSFAS Funding?
The easiest way is to apply online. You should complete the Nsfas online application form on the NSFAS portal and submit your supporting documents as soon as you decide that you want to study at a public university or TVET college. The annual application period usually opens some time in November and the closing date will be early in the calendar year. The exact dates will be widely publicised.
Don't wait until you have been accepted into university or college, as that will be too late to go through the NSFAS bursary funding process. NSFAS will cover registration and tuition fees - as well as an allowance.
Is NSFAS A Loan Or A Bursary?
Although you might have heard from other people that they have student loan repayments to NSFAS, things have changed. In previous years the National Student Financial Aid Scheme provided student loans that usually had to be paid back when the student graduated and started earning.
All payments and financial aid these days to NSFAS beneficiaries are bursaries and don't have to be paid back.
How Much Has NSFAS Paid Out In Financial Aid?
In August 2023 NSFAS management announced that a total of over R608 000 000 has now been made in NSFAS allowances to a total of almost 358 000 students at universities in South Africa using the new NSFAS direct payment system.
More than R600 000 000 was paid out to nearly 360 000 university students on 31 July 2023, while over 98 000 TVET College students received over R380 000 000 in student allowances on 25 July 2023.
Frequently Asked Questions About NSFAS
1. Who qualifies for NSFAS funding? National Student Financial Aid Scheme NSFAS funding is primarily for South African citizens who are studying or intend to study at public universities or TVET colleges, come from a household with a combined annual income of less than R350,000, and meet the specific admission criteria of the institution. Applications open near the end of the year.
2. How do I apply for NSFAS? Applications are submitted online via the NSFAS website. You'll need to create an account, fill in the NSFAS application form, and upload the required supporting documents with your online application.
3. What does NSFAS support cover? NSFAS provides coverage for a range of student necessities, including tuition fees, accommodation, meals, transport, and learning materials.
5. Is NSFAS a loan or a bursary? Since 2018, NSFAS has been converted into a bursary scheme for qualifying students, which means it does not need to be repaid. Prior to that, it functioned as a loan system.
4. How do I check my NSFAS application status? You can check your NSFAS application status by logging into your account on the NSFAS website. Once logged in you will be able to see your NSFAS status.
5. What documents do I need to apply for NSFAS? Typically, you'll need a copy of your ID or birth certificate, consent form, and proof of income or social grant/pension receipts if applicable. Parents or guardians' IDs and proof of income are also required.
6. Can I apply for NSFAS if I'm already a university student? Yes, students already enrolled at a university or TVET college can apply for NSFAS funding, provided they meet the qualifying criteria.
7. Does NSFAS fund postgraduate studies? NSFAS funding is typically for undergraduate courses. Some postgraduate qualifications, like PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education), may be funded based on the availability of funds and the field of study.
8. What happens if I fail some modules, will NSFAS continue to fund me? NSFAS may continue to fund you, but it depends on the NSFAS policy at the time. Typically, you need to pass a certain percentage of your modules to continue receiving funding.
9. When do I need to reapply for NSFAS? Students need to reapply for NSFAS each academic year within the specified application period.
10. Can NSFAS fund me if I'm studying part-time? Part-time students at universities are not typically funded by NSFAS. However, some part-time students at TVET colleges may be eligible for NSFAS funding, subject to meeting other qualifying criteria.