What is a NSFAS Incidental Allowance?

During the 2020 allowance adjustments by the Higher Education department, students funded by NSFAS saw some improvements in their allowances. It was in this year that students were given new funds for personal and educational improvements.


The incidental allowance is one of the allowances which the Minister responsible for higher education, Blade Nzimande, announced in the 2020 financial year. 

This particular allowance, better known as the incidental or personal care allowance, mainly caters for students in distance learning funded by NSFAS and catered residences.

The allowance is R290 per month for UNISA students in distance learning, or for students who do ten modules per academic year. In total, students receive R2900 per year, as they receive the money for the duration of their academic year only.

The academic year totals up to ten months, running from February to November each year.

The allowance has however been criticised by UNISA students as not being enough. 

Government, on the other hand, believes that the qualifying students for this particular allowance live in more advantageous conditions compared to full-time students that are expected to be at school every week to engage in contact learning.  

The allowance is also paid to University students who live in catered residences.

More information about NSFAS allowances can be found on the NSFAS website.

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