As more young people pursue tertiary studies, the Department of Higher Education is looking to ensure that financially disadvantaged students can be afforded the opportunity to further their studies.
While speaking at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme’s 30th-anniversary celebration on Wednesday, Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande, stated that the government has set aside R80 billion over the next three years to lower the barrier of entry to tertiary education for poor prospective students.
The bursary scheme has significantly increased its funding capacity over the past three decades, from 21.4 million in 1991 to R441 million which enabled the funding of 29,176 in 1999, to its current funding capacity of more than R50 billion which funds nearly 700 000 students for the 2022 academic year.
The Nsfas application process has also reportedly been improved to make it more user-friendly and more like other platforms that potential applicants are used to, such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Applications for Nsfas can be submitted online using myNsfas. Mobile applications, a USSD code, and WhatsApp are additional application channels created by Nsfas.
On these platforms, applicants can now track, pause, resume, and cancel their student funding applications. Nsfas will also start an outreach drive to make sure that applicants without access to technology can still apply
However, prospective students who wish to apply for NSFAS student funding must meet the requirements listed below:
- Must be a South African citizen.
- Can be a SASSA grant recipient.
- Applicants whose combined household income is not more than R350 000 per annum.
- Persons with a disability whose combined household income is not more than R600 000 per annum.
- Applicants who first registered at university before 2018 and whose household income is not more than R122 000 per annum.
When applying students will be required to provide the following supporting documents when submitting their applications:
- Copy of South African birth certificate/copy of ID document/Temporary ID of the student
- Copy of South African birth certificate/copy of ID document/Temporary ID of parent(s)/guardian/spouse
- Proof of income (where applicable) – student/parent(s)/guardian or spouse (not older than 3 months.
- SASSA recipients have no proof of income required.
- A student recognised as a vulnerable child (e.g. Orphan) must submit a completed Vulnerable Child Declaration Form completed by the Social worker
- Students with disabilities must complete and submit the Disability Annexure A form.
According to Nsfas, there are now 691,432 students enrolled for the 2022 academic year, with 462,983 female students and 227,072 male students. Applications are due to close on Tuesday 31 January 2023.