Which Courses Will NSFAS Not Cover?

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Are you planning your higher education journey and wondering if NSFAS will cover the course you want to study? Today we'll be giving you a breakdown of the courses NSFAS does not fund.


Looking for funding to pursue your post-Matric studies? The National Student Financial Aid Scheme, better known as NSFAS, might be your answer. However, there are certain courses that they won't cover.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme administers the NSFAS bursary in partnership with government. This bursary is geared towards students and prospective students who come from poor and working class backgrounds.

NSFAS covers University and TVET College courses. So which course won't they fund?

NSFAS will not cover the following:

  • Short courses
  • Courses being done through a private college or private higher education institution
  • Part-time studies
  • Postgraduate studies
  • Second degrees

Should you be partaking in any of the above, NSFAS will unfortunately not be able to pay for your fees through their bursary and you will need to look at other funding options.

The other option for you are to approach a bank for a student loan or go to the education loans specialist company, Fundi. Because they specialist in education loans they may be able to assist with the cost of tuition and the other costs involved in studying.

NSFAS will only cover first qualifications which are done at one of the 26 public Universities or TVET Colleges in the country. Should you be doing one of the above categories at a public University or TVET College, NSFAS will still not cover the course.

The bursary from NSFAS will however cover online studies for full-time courses done through a public University or TVET College. 

The requirements to qualify for a NSFAS bursary are as follows:


  • Must be a South African citizen
  • Must be applying or accepted at a University
  • SASSA grant recipients immediately qualify
  • Must have a household income below R350 000 per year
  • If you're a person living with a disability, your household income must come to R600 000 or less

TVET Colleges

  • Must be a South African citizen
  • Must be registered or intending to register on a PLP, NC(V) or Report 191 programme at a TVET College
  • Must have a household income below R350 000 per year
  • If you're a person living with a disability, your household income must come to R600 000 or less
  • Returning students must demonstrate proven and accepted academic performance in line with the College’s progression policy or the progression prescriptions of the Bursary Rules and Guidelines
  • Must not be enrolling for a qualification that duplicates previous learning that was state-funded

A NSFAS bursary will pay for your tuition fees but will also cover other things such as your registration, accommodation, transport, meals and other living costs.

 Applications for this bursary usually open around August/September and closes in November/December of the same year.

Head to the NSFAS website here to learn more about the NSFAS bursary.

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