Former President Jacob Zuma declared on December 16, 2017, that the South African government will gradually implement “totally subsidised free higher education and training for poor and working-class South African students.” The money would be phased in over a five-year period, resulting in the establishment of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) Bursary Scheme. 

Thus, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) was created. NSFAS is a bursary scheme which provides poor and working-class South African students with fully subsidised free higher education and training.

NSFAS is a public entity reporting to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). It provides financial assistance in the form of study bursaries to qualifying students who plan to study at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and public universities. The latest data regarding the amount of learners applying for the bursary has revealed that the bursary scheme received and processed a total of 906 429 applications this year.

How do you qualify for the NSFAS?

  • You must be a South African citizen
  • You must be studying or intend on studying towards an undergraduate qualification in 2022 (postgraduate courses will not be funded, except for postgraduate students who received funding in 2020)
  • You must be studying or intend on studying at a public tertiary institution within South Africa (University or TVET College)
  • You must NOT have completed any previous qualifications

 

You must fall into 1 or more of these categories:

1) You must be a SASSA grant recipient (excluding the SASSA COVID-19 grant)

2) You must have a total combined household income that is NOT more than R350 000 per annum

3) You must be living with a disability AND have a total combined household income NOT more than R600 000 per annum

4) You must have started studying before 2018 and have a total combined household income NOT more than R122 000 per annum

 

What costs does the NSFAS bursary 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
  • 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:

  • Tuition
  • Books (dependent on the number of modules registered)
  • Personal care allowance
  • Students living with disabilities will also receive Assistive Devices (such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, adapted laptops etc.) and Human Support (careers, scribes, tutors, sign language interpreters etc.). The cover amount will be reviewed by NSFAS each year.

How do I apply for the NSFAS bursary?

Applications can be submitted on any device with internet access: cellphone, tablet, laptop or computer.

Students who were previously funded by NSFAS can re-apply by logging in with their email address and password: https://my.nsfas.org.za/Application/selfservice.jsp