• Fee Free Higher Education

  • Will a previous NSFAS beneficiary and graduate be accommodated for free funding in 2018/2019?

    NSFAS free funding will only apply to students doing their first undergraduate qualifications.

  • What will happen to loans owed to NSFAS by students who have already graduated?

    NSFAS has not received any commitment by government at this stage to write of any outstanding student debts. The free education pronouncement was clear that it will be effective starting from the 2018 academic year. As far as we are concerned, previous loans will still need to be paid back by those who benefited.

  • How is NSFAS going to distinguish its funding from what is proposed by the president?

    NSFAS was funding students whose income was up to R122 000 per annum. Now NSFAS is funding students whose family income is up to R350 000 per annum. Eligible students are expected to provide proof of income of parents in order to be assisted.

  • How is this money going to be disbursed in terms of university vs TVET students?

    Universities and colleges will receive their allocations once they have given us lists of their registered students. Each institution’s allocation will be determined by the number of their students and their allowances and tuition costs. Once NSFAS is satisfied with these lists, agreement forms for bursary recipients will be disbursed for signing by the students. Once they are signed, NSFAS will have confirmation that the student has acknowledged the funding, and that the student has verified the information as being correct, and that the student is indeed registered and is attending classes. Then NSFAS will disburse funds to the institution. Funds to universities and colleges are released on a quarterly basis. Student allowances are paid out on monthly basis.

  • If a student had previously been rejected by NSFAS due to lack of funds, is it now guaranteed that they will be awarded funding?

    All eligible students who fall within the R350 000 household income bracket, and have been admitted at universities and TVET colleges, will be funded.

  • If a student owes money to the university, will NSFAS help at all with that debt? If so, how?

    NSFAS will only settle student debt from the currently funded year onwards, those who owe universities or colleges and were not funded by NSFAS will settle their debt.

  • What does this mean for GAP-funded students?

    The Department of Higher Education and Training has reached an agreement with universities on fee adjustments for 2018, which will see universities adjusting their fees to a maximum of 8% on the 2017 fees. Students who come from households that earn up to R600 000 per annum, will be supported by government to pay the increase through GAP grant funding. Students who applied for and received GAP grant funding in 2017, will have to apply for the 2018 GAP grant funding through their universities at the time of registrations. This means that university students from families with a household income of up to R600 000 per annum will be paying 2017 prices for their 2018 fees.

  • Will a previous NSFAS beneficiary and graduate be accommodated for free funding in 2018/2019?

    NSFAS free funding will only apply to students doing their first undergraduate qualifications.

  • How is this money disbursed in terms of university vs TVET college students?

    Universities and colleges will receive their allocations once they have given NSFAS a list of their registered students. Each institution’s allocation will be determined by the number of their students, their allowances and tuition costs. Once NSFAS is satisfied with these lists, agreement forms for bursary recipients will be disbursed for signing by the students. Once they are signed, NSFAS will have confirmation that the student has acknowledged the funding and is indeed registered and attending classes. Funds to universities and colleges are released on a quarterly basis. Student allowances are paid out on monthly basis.

  • What happens if you fail a few courses or modules?

    To maintain the NSFAS Funding you must meet the academic requirements set by the institution to continue with the qualification and should pass at least 50% of all your modules for that year or semester.

  • 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

  • sBux

  • How do I activate sBux?
    • Sign your LAF/ SOP
    • Receive an SMS welcoming you to sBux
    • Verify your account by dialing *134*176# and reply with your ID number
    • Receive a password that you will use when transacting
    • Your vouchers will be made available for spending
  • How do I get verification of my sBux allowances?
    For verification of your sBux allowances please contact our contact center at 08000 67327 or login to your cellbux account from this link For verification of your sBux allowances please contact our contact center at 08000 67327 or login to your cellbux account from this link https://celbux.appspot.com/logincb.jsp
  • What do I need to receive your NSFAS allowances via sBux?
    • Your own cell phone and valid SIM card
    • To have signed your NSFAS Loan Agreement Form/Statement of Particulars
    • Ensure that your landlord is registered on sBux, if staying in private accommodation. Please download the merchant application pack.
  • 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.

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