Why Unisa Students Don't Get All NSFAS Allowances


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Out of all 26 public universities in South Africa which accept NSFAS funding, Unisa is the most different. NSFAS students at Unisa's NSFAS funding works differently when compared to other university students.


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The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) provides NSFAS funding in the form of NSFAS bursaries and NSFAS loans. This NSFAS funding is only geared towards students from one the 26 public universities or 50 TVET Colleges.

The University of South Africa (Unisa) is one of the 26 public universities in South Africa and is therefore accepting of NSFAS as payment for tuition fees. However, students at Unisa won't receive the same funding package other university students do.

What do Unisa students receive from NSFAS?

Unisa students funded through NSFAS are eligible for the Learning Materials Allowance and the Living Allowance.

The Learning Materials Allowance is determined by the number of modules a student is registered for. Unisa students funded by NSFAS receive R700 per module for the first four modules and a one-time payment of R5,460 for five or more modules. 

Consequently, if R5,200 is already paid as the Learning Materials Allowance for the first five modules, no additional allowance will be granted for any extra modules. This allowance must be used to purchase textbooks and other study materials required to successfully complete their courses.

Living Allowances are disbursed to students who have registered for ten or more modules. Furthermore, Unisa specifies that students registered for ten or more modules qualify for an incidental allowance. 

In addition to these allowances, NSFAS covers both your tuition fees and registration fee.

Why do Unisa students only get specific NSFAS allowances?

Normally, NSFAS will pay university students the following NSFAS allowances:

  • Learning Materials/Book Allowance 
  • Living Allowance
  • Transport Allowance
  • Accommodation Allowance
  • Incidental/personal care allowance

However, Unisa students will only receive the Learning Materials Allowance and the Living Allowance. This is due to Unisa being an open distance learning university.

What this means is that students study from home. Students would then be studying from home and not attend a campus.

The accommodation and transport allowances will therefore not be disbursed to Unisa students as they won't be needing to move near to a campus or travel from home to a campus.

Which Unisa Courses Funded By NSFAS?

NSFAS will pay for most of Unisa’s undergraduate courses. It's important to note that NSFAS will only pay for your first qualification. This means that if you are enrolling in a second qualification, NSFAS will not approve your NSFAS bursary application. 

Does NSFAS Fund Short Courses At Unisa

One of the most important questions that students who are registered for short courses at Unisa will ask is about funding. They will want to ask whether short courses will be funded by NSFAS at Unisa.

NSFAS will not pay for Unisa Part-time studies or Unisa Short courses. The bursary scheme will also not fund Unisa postgraduate courses. 

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Unisa is one of the 26 public universities in South Africa and is also the largest university in South Africa. The Bachelor of Arts in Criminology qualification at Unisa is highly sought-after.






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