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The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) was formed in terms of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. On 16 December 2017, former president, Jacob Zuma, announced that the South African government would phase in “fully subsidised free higher education and training for poor and working class South African students”. The funding would be phased in over a period of 5 years and thus the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) Bursary Scheme was established.
NSFAS is a bursary scheme which provides poor and working class South African students with fully subsidised free higher education and training. NSFAS’s vision is to provides students from poor and working class families with financial aid, to undertake studies at public universities and TVET colleges.
ABOUT THE NSFAS PROGRAMME
The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), invites students to apply for NSFAS funding, for the 2023 academic year.
Funding is available to disadvantaged students who are currently studying or wish to study towards an undergraduate qualification, at public universities or TVET college in South Africa. Students must have a family with an income of R350 000 or less.
When applying, students will be split into 5 seperate cohorts, namely:
Cohort 1: First-Time Entering Student (FTEN) who is a SASSA beneficiary
Cohort 2: Returning Student, who is SASSA beneficiary
Cohort 3: First-Time Entering Student who is NOT a SASSA beneficiary
Cohort 4: Returning Student, who is NOT a SASSA beneficiary
Cohort 5: Student living with disability
ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR NSFAS FUNDING
Applicants must ensure that they satisfy the following minimum entry criteria before applying:
- You must be a South African citizen
- You must be studying or intend on studying towards an undergraduate qualification in 2023
- You must be studying or intend on studying a public tertiary institution within South Africa (University or TVET College)
- You must NOT have completed any previous qualifications
- You must fall into at least 1 of these categories:
- 1) you are a SASSA grant recipient
- 2) you have a total combined household income of NOT more than R350 000 per annum
- 3) you are living with a disability AND have a total combined household income NOT more than R600 000 per annum
- 4) you started studying before 2018 and have total combined household income of NOT more than R122 000 per annum
WHAT EXPENSES DOES NSFAS COVER?
NSFAS funding will cover the following fees: registration fees, tuition fees, study material expenses, food allowance, incidental/ personal care, as well as accommodation or transport.
University students will receive the following funding:
- Accommodation – the amount charged by the university (or the equivalent amount for private accommodation)
- Transport of no more than R7 500 per year (up to maximum distance of 40 km from the institution)
- Living allowance of no more than R15 000 per year
- Book allowance of no more than R5 200 per year
- Incidental/ personal care allowance of no more than R2 900 per year (if residing in catered residence)
TVET students will receive the following funding:
- Accommodation of no more than R24 000 per year in an urban area/ no more than R18 900 per year in a peri-urban area/ no more than R15 750 per year in a rural area
- Transport of no more than R7 350 per year
- Incidental/ personal care allowance of no more than R2 900 per year
University of South Africa (UNISA) students will receive the following funding:
- Books (dependent on the number of modules registered)
- Personal care allowance
Students with disabilities will receive the following funding:
- Assistive Devices (such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, adapted laptops etc.)
- Human Support (careers, scribes, tutors, sign language interpreters etc.)
WHICH INSTITUTIONS DOES NSFAS ACCEPT?
Students who are studying (or will be studying) at any of these 25 public universities or 50 TVET Colleges, may apply for 2023 NSFAS funding:
- Cape Peninsula University of Technology
- Central University of Technology
- Durban University of Technology
- Monash University
- Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
- North West University
- Rhodes University
- Stellenbosch University
- Tshwane University of Technology
- University of Cape Town
- University of Fort Hare
- University of Johannesburg
- University of KwaZulu-Natal
- University of Limpopo
- University of Pretoria
- University of South Africa
- University of the Free State
- University of the Western Cape
- University of the Witwatersrand
- University of Zululand
- Vaal University of Technology
- Walter Sisulu University
- Boland College
- Buffalo City College
- Capricorn College
- Central Johannesburg College
- Coastal KZN College
- College of Cape Town
- Eastcape Midlands College
- Ehlanzeni College
- Ekurhuleni East College
- Elangemi College
- Esayidi College
- Ethekwini College
- False Bay College
- Gert Sibande College
- Ikhala College
- Ingwe College
- King Hintsa College
- King Sabata Dalindyebo College
- Letaba College
- Liphalale College
- Lovedale College
- Majuba College
- Mnambithi College
- Nkangala College
- Northern Cape Rural College
- Northern Cape Urban College
- Northlink College
- Orbit College
- Port Elizabeth College
- Sekhukhune College
- South Cape College
- South West Gauteng College
- Tshwane North College
- Tshwane South College
- Umfolozi College
- Umgungundlovu College
- Vhembe College
- Vuselela College
- Waterberg College
- West Coast College
HOW TO APPLY FOR NSFAS FUNDING
Applications must be submitted online at: NSFAS 2023 Application
Applications can be submitted on any devise with internet access: cellphone, tablet, laptop or computer.
Follow these steps to submit your application for NSFAS funding:
1) Visit the my NSFAS portal
2) Select the “create an account” tab where you will be required to fill in your ID number, first and last name, email address, contact number and your selected password
3) You will then be required to validate your account and the information you have provided
4) After creating your account, you will be able to select the “Login” tab and log in by filling in your ID number and password.
5) Fill in all the required information and upload your supporting documents.
If you have already applied, qualified and received funding, you do NOT have to reapply for NSFAS funding each year, as you will automatically be funded for the duration of your studies (on condition that you pass your modules and meet the academic requirements).
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR NSFAS APPLICATION
All applicants will be required to submit the following supporting documents when applying – please ensure that you have these documents ready before submitting your application (note that no applications will be accepted without these documents):
- South African ID document (this can include any of the following):
- copy of green ID document
- temporary ID from the DHA
- copy of both side of Smart ID card
- unbridged birth certificate
- Non-SASSA grant applicants: Parents, guardians or spouse ID documents (copies only)
- Own, parents, guardians or spouse proof of income, if a non-SASSA applicant (this can include any of the following):
- latest payslip if employed (not older 3 months)
- UIF letter
- employment letter
- retrenchment letter, if a non-SASSA applicant
- Students with disabilities: complete and sign the Disability Annexure A Form (.pdf) and submit proof of disability and quotation for assistive devices
- Students who are recognised as a Vulnerable Child by the Department of Social Development: complete and sign the Vulnerable Child Declaration Form (.pdf)
- South African ID document (this can include any of the following):
Please note: affidavits will NOT be accepted.
IF YOU DON’T QUALIFY FOR NSFAS, YOU MAY STILL APPLY FOR A BURSARY
While NSFAS is a wonderful initiative, unfortunately not all students will qualify for the programme. For students looking for alternative sources of funding for tertiary studies – view our bursaries open for application here: Bursaries closing soon.
- From 2018 to 2021, NSFAS funding increased by 107% (R20 billion in 2018 and R42 billion in 2021), for poor and working class students, at University and TVET College.
- In the 2020 academic year, 489 912 university students and 261 404 TVET college students received full NSFAS funding.
- In the 2020 academic year, the demographic profile of students was: African (92.9%), Coloured (4.2%), White (0.9%), Indian (0.7%), and others (1.4%).
- In 2018, 61.5% of all students who received NSFAS funding were female (this falls in line with the percentafe of female undergraduate students within the public university sector).
- In 2020, the number of female students who received NSFAS funding increased from 360 344 (in 2018) to 470 696 – this was an increase of 30.6%.
- From the 2014/ 2015 academic year, to the 2020/ 2021 academic year, NSFAS funding increased from R5.9 billion to around R35 billion.
For any queries related to this bursary programme, please contact NSFAS directly:
Tel: 0860 067 327
CLOSING DATE FOR NSFAS APPLICATION
31 January 2023.
(Applications submitted after this date will not be accepted – please apply before the closing date to ensure your application is considered.)