What Does NSFAS Do For Postgrad Students?

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NSFAS provides fully subsidised free higher education and training for poor and working class South Africans. However, what are their policies where postgraduate courses are involved?



The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is run by the South African government under the Department of Higher Education (DHET) and is responsible for the DHET bursary, more commonly known as the NSFAS bursary. NSFAS funding covers more than just tuition and has funded millions of students since it's inception.

Does the NSFAS bursary cover postgraduate courses though? 

Before 2021, NSFAS funding covered the following postgrad courses:

  • B Tech – Architecture/Architectural Technology
  • B Tech – Biokinetics/Biomedical Technology/Biotechnology
  • B Tech: Chiropractic
  • B Tech: Clinical Technology/Dental Technology
  • B Tech: Emergency Medical Care
  • B Tech: Engineering (Chemical/Civil/Electrical/Industrial/Mechanical/Mechatronics/Metallurgy/Refractories)
  • B Tech: Forestry
  • B Tech: Homeopathy
  • B Tech: Nursing/Nursing Science/Community Nursing/Primary Healthcare/Occupational Nursing)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting
  • Bachelor of Laws/LLB

NSFAS would also fund a student seeking funding for a second qualification if the second qualification was a professional requirement for employment.

NSFAS Postgrad

However, as of the 2021 academic year, NSFAS announced that they would no longer be funding any postgraduate qualifications. This included funding for postgrad certificates, postgrad diplomas, honours degrees, masters degrees and PhD degrees.

NSFAS then instructed students seeking postgraduate funding to turn to the National Research Foundation (NRF).

The NRF provides services and grants to support research and postgraduate research training that is vital to the development of South Africa. The NRF's task is to advance research in all fields of the humanities, social and natural sciences, engineering, and technology; including indigenous knowledge, and will support researchers in these fields.

Other Options For Postgrad Funding


Fundi provides education loans to students, these loans can cover the expenses of registration fees and outstanding balances. If you need helping paying for your study fees, for student accommodation, laptop or other study costs.

Student Loans

Student loans are also a great option to cover your studies. Banks and private financial institutions are often more flexible with their qualifying criteria and are better equipped to offer personalised loan options.


Feenix is a student programme that uses the process of fundraising in order to helped students fund their studies. They assist students with avoiding an accumulation of debt which would have brought about issues while you're pursuing your studies. 

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NSFAS provides bursaries for South African students to pursue higher education if they are unable to afford it on their own. While NSFAS funds most tertiary institutions in the country, not all courses are covered.  

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