What Are Requirements To Access Student Loans From Government?

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A new government funding scheme has been launched to assist students at universities and colleges who have not qualified for NSFAS funding but are still struggling to pay their fees. We have details of the requirements for this new scheme.

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A new government funding scheme has been announced by the Minister of Higher Education, Dr Blade Nzimande, which is intended to assist students who fall into what has been called the 'missing middle'. This group is defined as students who come from households where the combined household income is more than R350,000 per annum but less than R600,000. They make up 11% of the student population.

Until now students whose family income was below the threshold were able to access bursaries from NSFAS to cover all their expenses. Even R1 over the limit and there was nothing available.

The new scheme announced by the Minister will provide a student loan to these missing middle students. If the students perform well up to 50% of the loan can be converted to a bursary.

The government has made R3,8billion available in the first year to support the scheme, which it believes will be able to support about half of the students in the missing middle. Plans are in place for the funding to increase each year to reach R42billion after 10 years.

It was announced that 70% of those funded must be following STEM subjects, which may include commercial and entrepreneurial courses, with 30% for those studying Humanities courses.

Rules of the new scheme

Students who apply for the new scheme from NSFAS must meet the following criteria:

  • Annual household income between R350,001 and R600,000
  • Accepted to study at either TVET College or public university
  • Can apply in years 1, 2, 3 or 4
  • Must achieve average of 60% in their course work to continue funding

If students achieve more than 70%, and finish within prescribed time of course, they can have 50% of the loan written off, on application.

How Do I Apply For This New Funding Scheme?

The Minister announced when he launched the scheme on the 14th January 2024 that full details on how to apply would be announced by NSFAS within 2 weeks.


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