What NSFAS Appeals Mean For N+ Rule Students

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While the 2023 academic year already commenced at several institutions of higher education, many students do not know if they will receive funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. This comes after the financial aid scheme rejected more than 300,000 applications.

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NSFAS Appeal

Earlier this month, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) announced that the appeals application portal is active. This allows unsuccessful bursary applicants to submit an appeal application and possibly receive funding for the 2023 academic year.

The financial aid scheme rejected 317,335 funding applications for the 2023 academic year. While many of these students can appeal this decision from NSFAS, the scheme warned that students who exceed the N+Rule are unable to submit a NSFAS appeal.


All students who exceeded N+1 or N+2 are unable to appeal the rejection.

Nsfas said only students who have an unsuccessful status due to financial ineligibility, academically eligible students and those who are still within the N+2 rule can submit an appeal.

The students who are able to submit an appeal will need to complete and download the relevant propensity letter below:

  1. Failure to meet academic eligibility (PDF)
  2. Appealing N+1 (PDF)
  3. N+2 students with disability (PDF)
  4. Registered for 50% or less (final year course credits) to complete (PDF)
  5. Academic ineligibility as a result of N+ rule exceeded

What Is The NSFAS N+ Rule

The N+Rule  refers to the number of years students will receive funding to obtain a qualification.

The University N+ Rule and the TVET College N+ Rule are regulations in the South African higher education sector designed to address the number of years a student is registered in their respective institutions. In the case of the University N+ Rule, it considers the time a student spends in higher education. This rule aims to prevent students from prolonging their studies beyond the minimum required time for a qualification.

The TVET College N+ Rule, on the other hand, is specific to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges and is based on the number of academic terms funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). Notably, this rule does not apply to occupational programs, which are tied to employment contracts and do not allow for the N+1 extension period.

The "N" period of study represents the minimum duration required to complete a qualification. This means that students are expected to finish their programs within this time frame. However, for distance university students enrolled in non-contact universities, the N period is doubled due to the challenges associated with remote learning.

The N+1 Rule is crucial for all students who receive financial assistance from NSFAS. It is intended to ensure that these students complete their studies within a reasonable time frame, preventing undue delays.

Lastly, students with disabilities receive additional support, qualifying for an N+2 extension. This accommodation acknowledges the unique challenges they may face and provides them with more time to complete their educational goals.

However, a student who is funded from their third year of study, for example, may in fact benefit from additional years to complete their qualification.

Unlike the N+ Rule for University students, the  N+ Rule for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges is based on the number of academic terms funded. This is due to the shorter cycles that students are funded for and the higher probability that students may exit the system.

It is very important to note that appeals must be submitted within 30 days after the appearance of the unsuccessful status. Appeals submitted via email will not be accepted.

If an applicant is successful in their NSFAS appeal application, they will receive comprehensive funding in the 2023 academic year. NSFAS bursaries cover tuition and accommodation fees. Students will also receive a transport allowance, meal allowance and a book allowance.

Suggested Article:

Nsfas appeals portal

Bursaries provided by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme ensure that higher education is accessible to students from poor and working-class backgrounds. However, not all students who applied for a bursary have been approved for funding.


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