• 2019 Applications

  • Who can apply for NSFAS funding?
    Our qualify for NSFAS funding if:
    • You are a South African citizen;
    • Your combined annual household income does not exceed R350 000 per annum;
    • You are a SASSA grant recipient;
    • You are registering for the first-time for an under graduate qualification at a public university or you are registered at a public TVET College for one of the National Certificate Vocational or report 191 programme;
    • You are applying to study at a public university or TVET College for a qualification;
    • You are an already registered university student with an annual household income of less than R122 000 per year;
    • You need to have passed Grade 9 & 10 to receive NSFAS funding to study at a TVET College;
    • You need to have passed Grade 12 to receive NSFAS funding to study at a university.
  • Where and how should I apply for 2019 funding?

    Students can apply online, or they can go to their local NYDA office or FAO office.

  • What documents do I need to apply for NSFAS?
    Ensure that you have electronic (and certified copies) of the following:
    • Your South African ID document/card or an unabridged birth certificate (if you do not have a green bar-coded ID or smart ID card)
    • ID of parents and/or guardian or a death certificate where applicable
    • Pay advice/letter of employment/pension advice stating income (not older than 3 months) (SASSA slips are not required and SASSA should not be included as household income)
  • Must I apply for 2019 if I am funded by NSFAS in 2018?

    No. All students who are funded by NSFAS in 2018 need not apply again for 2018 as they will be automatically funded by NSFAS for the next academic year/semester, provided they pass their modules and meet the progression requirements of the course and institution.

  • Does NSFAS fund postgraduate qualifications?

    NSFAS only accepts postgraduate applications for the following postgraduate qualifications:
    1. B-Tech Architecture/Architectural Technology
    2. B Tech - Biokinetics/Biomedical Technology/Biotechnology
    3. Postgraduate Certificate in Education
    4. Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting, and
    5. LLB

  • Which institutions does NSFAS provide funding for?

    NSFAS will only provide financial assistance to students who have applied and have been accepted at public universities and TVET colleges. Students who intend to study at private institutions will not be assisted by NSFAS.

  • Can students with disabilities apply for funding?

    Yes. Students with disabilities are encouraged to apply for financial assistance. NSFAS provides special disability funding to all approved students with disabilities at any of the 26 public universities or 50 TVET colleges.

  • Does NSFAS pay registration costs for first-year and returning students?

    Yes. Registration costs are usually the first payment towards your tuition costs, and if you have been confirmed for funding by NSFAS, universities and TVET colleges will not expect you to pay the registration fees upfront.

  • When will application results come out?

    Application results will be communicated to all applicants at a date to be announced in January 2019 via cell phone numbers or email addresses provided by applicants in their application forms. No application results will be released to students until results have been received from the Department of Basic Education, or the universities themselves.

  • What are the NSFAS academic requirements?

    You need to have passed Grade 9 & 10 to receive NSFAS funding to study at a TVET College

  • What does conditionally or provisionally approved mean?

    This means that the applicant’s application for funding has been approved, however to access this funding they need to apply and get admission at a public university or TVET college

  • What happens if you are declined for a NSFAS bursary?

    If an applicant is not satisfied with the results of their applications, they can appeal this decision by filling in the appeal form available on the NSFAS website, which will then be reviewed by the appeals committee.

  • How does NSFAS go about notifying an applicant or an institution that they will be funded?

    Application results will be communicated to all applicants at a date to be announced in January 2019 via cell phone numbers or email addresses provided by applicants in their application forms

  • How does registration for NSFAS funded students work?

    What is of utmost importance is that it is against government policy for institutions to refuse NSFAS approved students’ registration. NSFAS has a long-standing agreement with universities, therefore NSFAS funded students should not be asked or required to pay for registration fee, as this is covered as part of their bursary.

    In January of every academic year NSFAS makes upfront payments to universities and colleges which amount to at least 13% of the provisional allocation of the year. This upfront payment covers student registration fees, books and other essential allowances.

  • How will this be paid?

    All funded students will receive their allowances through their bank accounts, directly from academic institutions (universities and TVET colleges). The scheme urges academic institutions and student organisations to encourage and assist funded students to open bank accounts with accredited financial institutions of their choice.

  • Rejected students and the appeal process

    The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has completed all assessments of the 2019 applications of first time entering students. Of the 417 000 applications received, more than 300 000 students have been declared approved, pending registration at public institutions for NSFAS funded qualifications.

    In December 2018, the NSFAS Administrator, Dr. Randall Carolissen called for review of the 109 000 applications that were initially unsuccessful for the 2019 academic year. Following this process, over 60 000 of these applicants, have subsequently been declared financially eligible. As NSFAS processed applications in the pipeline, the number of unsuccessful applicants escalated to 65 000.

  • What steps must the student take when they want to dispute this?

    Should a student want to dispute this outcome because of changes to the household income or SASSA status, they may lodge an appeal by providing the necessary documentation to NSFAS. An appeal form can be downloaded from the NSFAS Website and must be completed and submitted to the Financial Aid Office at the institution. Alternatively, students can submit appeals directly to NSFAS, along with required documentation, to applicationreview@nsfas.org.za. The closing date for appeals is 08 March 2019.

  • Appeals will only be considered on the following grounds:

    Material change in combined household income (proof of loss of income needed with a fully completed NSFAS form for students that were not previously funded)

    • Loss of a bursary/sponsor in the 2018 academic cycle (documented proof should be provided and should be accompanied by a fully completed NSFAS application form)
    • Failure to meet academic criteria where prior academic performance has been satisfactory (provide supporting information and documentation that provides details of the reasons that affected performance)
    • Failure to meet academic criteria due to medical condition (s) or death of an immediate family member (provide supporting information and documentation)
    • Student had a gap year in NSFAS funding or failed to register previously and could not reapply for funding
    • More than one student from the same household concurrently enrolled at a university/TVET college, and
    • Applying for an approved post graduate qualification
    Students are encouraged to login on the myNSFAS self-service portal www.nsfas.org.za to check their applications’ status update, for students that have been approved for funding, their status will now reflect as: “Approved for funding subject to registration”, and for those who have been rejected for funding, the status will reflect as “Application unsuccessful”.
  • Concerns raised by Minister Naledi Pandor in regards to the backlog; are they being addressed?

    Dr Carolissen has appointed a strong team to assist him with a turnaround strategy to resolve outstanding disbursements for 2018 resulting in more than R3.6 billion being unlocked and disbursed to students, and a further R10 billion has been unlocked at universities and colleges.

    We have been working and planning tirelessly towards completing the 2017/18 backlog, this is work in progress. NSFAS has deployed teams led by senior management to universities and TVET colleges across the country to finalize the closeout of 2017/18 student funding decisions and disbursements.

  • How long does it typically take for payments to be made?

    When a student applies for funding various steps and processes are followed to make final decisions on whether the student qualifies for funding or not. Once this is done and the student qualifies we wait for a registration template that will be submitted to us by the institution that he/she will be studying at. Funding is then finalised, and disbursements are made. Failure for the institution to submit the registration template, results in holding payments for the student. It is important to note that students are not required to submit their registration proof by themselves or email. This process is only done by institutions.

  • Any update on SASSA beneficiaries?

    NSFAS has now validated and approved funding an additional 11 613 social grant beneficiaries. These students will become fully funded pending registration at a public university for an approved qualification. For the 2019 academic year this brings the total number of social grants NSFAS approved students to about 60 000, their financial eligibility status is now “confirmed and approved” subject to registration. This completes the processing of the majority of social grants applicants.

    All students are urged to check their latest funding status on MyNSFAS. We urge all NSFAS approved students to complete registration for approved qualifications at a public university or TVET college as soon as possible.

  • Allowances

  • Will all allowances be paid in cash, including accommodation allowances?

    All funded student allowances for 2019 will be paid in cash, either directly to the student via NSFAS Wallet or via the institution to the student.

  • How did the R275 monthly allowance initiative come about?

    The introduction of the personal allowance came as a result of numerous engagements with various stakeholders and students on how NSFAS could best assist in issues of personal necessities across universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges (TVET). This allowance will cover some of students’ toiletry and sanitary needs to ensure that they don’t miss classes as a result.

  • Who is set to benefit?

    All NSFAS funded students living in catered residences in addition to their catered accommodation.

  • How much has been budgeted for this allowance?

    NSFAS has set aside more than R2.2 billion, which will be introduced as new allowance to more than 800 000 students.

  • When will students start receiving the allowance?

    This stipend will kick in with other allowances as soon as NSFAS has received registration data from institutions. NSFAS will start paying allowances at the end of January when academic activities resume.

  • Appeals

  • Who may appeal and where?
    You can appeal if:
    * There is a material change in your combined household income (proof of loss of income needed with a fully completed NSFAS form for students that were not previously funded) * Loss of a bursary/sponsor in the 2018 academic year (documented proof should be provided and accompany a fully completed NSFAS application form) * Failure to meet academic criteria where prior academic performance had been satisfactory (provide supporting information and documentation that provides reasons that affected performance)
    * Failure to meet academic criteria due to medical condition (s) or death of an immediate family member (provide supporting information and documentation)
    * You had a gap year in NSFAS funding or failed to register previously and could not reapply for funding.

    Email your appeal form with supporting documents to ApplicationReview@NSFAS.org.za or submit it to your institutions Financial Aid Office.
  • When will students receive feedback on their appeal?
    Students are encouraged to check their funding statuses 7 days after submission of appeal. Funding statuses change as and when an appeal decision has been made. Appeal results are available on the myNSFAS portal. To view the results log your myNSFAS account or register an account on www.nsfas.org.za.
  • What happens if the student’s appeal is approved, but they have missed registration date?
    Student can register, if registration is closed they may use next registration window. * NSFAS has no control over registrations for students awaiting appeals
  • Repayments

  • How do I repay the student loan?

    NSFAS student loans are income-contingent, which means that repayment commences when you start working. NSFAS will send you statements to help you keep track of how much you owe. It is your legal responsibility to keep in touch with NSFAS and to inform us of any change of address and contact details.

  • How are repayments calculated?

    Repayments of your student loan are based on the salary that you earn, and start once your salary is R30 000 or more per year. The repayment amount starts at a calculation of 3% of your annual salary, increasing to a maximum of 8% when your salary reaches R59 300 or more per year. For example, you will repay R900 on a salary of R30 000 a year, or R75 per month. Once your annual salary reaches R59 300 your repayment will be R4 744 a year or R395 a month. You can choose to pay more than this, so that you can pay off your loan off faster, and reduce the amount of interest you will be charged on your loan.

    Interest is charged at 80% of the repo rate, which is the repurchase rate at which the Reserve Bank lends to commercial banks. NSFAS will continue to charge interest on all outstanding balances, making it imperative that you start repaying your loan as soon as possible. The interest rate is set at the beginning of every financial year (April).

  • How do you ensure that students pay back the money?

    Students sign a legally binding loan agreement contract to repay their loans. NSFAS also works with third party organisations (e.g SARS to track down NSFAS beneficiaries who are employed and earning more than R30 000 per year and make payment arrangements.

  • How much do students owe, on average?

    The amount owed varies, as some students might be funded for only one year while others may be funded for their whole qualification. Some students owe R10 000, others owe R150 000.

  • How much of the loan repayment assists in funding other students?

    Every cent of a loan repayment goes towards helping other students with funding.

  • How much time do students have to pay back their loans?

    No time limit is given for repayment, since this is determined by the salary of the debtor, and his or her ability to repay. Those who are unemployed are not expected to repay.

  • What happens if a student loses his/her job while still paying back their loan?

    Those who are unemployed are not expected to repay, but must inform NSFAS whenever their employment status changes.

  • What about students who drop out during their studies?

    Students who drop out are still required to repay their loan when they start earning R30 000 or more a year.

  • When and how is a loan converted into a bursary?

    Different loans have different rules about conversion. Up to a maximum of 40% of a general loan is converted into a bursary when a student passes all of the courses they were registered for in that year. Students who apply at their institution's Financial Aid Office to be on the NSFAS Final-Year Programme have their final-year loans converted into a 100% bursary if they pass all of their final-year courses and qualify to graduate. If they do not pass all subjects, the conversion applicable to general loans is applied.

  • How do these bursary conversions show on NSFAS repayments?

    The bursary conversion shows as a rebate on your statement when NSFAS receives your academic results from the university. This takes place at the end of the NSFAS financial year in April.

    Your academic results are used to calculate any bursary rebates: for example, 40% of your student loan will be converted into a bursary if you pass all courses; if you pass half of your courses, then 20% of the student loan will be converted into a bursary. If you don't pass any courses, you will not receive any bursary rebate for that academic year and you will have to repay 100% of your student loan.

  • Is it true that the NSFAS loans of successful third-year university students do not need to be repaid?

    Students in their final year of study, who qualify to graduate if they pass all their courses, are eligible to be funded through the Final-Year Programme, a fund announced by the President in 2011. You may apply to be part of this programme at your institution's Financial Aid Office. Should a Final-Year Programme student successfully graduate, the loan is converted to a 100% bursary. Students can only benefit from this programme once.