The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) was introduced in 1996 to encourage means-tested students from underprivileged backgrounds into higher education. The annual NSFAS process is very popular, with over 750,000 applications for funding for the 2021 year.
This article takes you through all aspects of the NSFAS; students wishing or needing to take advantage of the scheme should get themselves well-acquainted with how the process works, to maximise their chances of a successful application.
What is the NSFAS?
The NSFAS is a bursary operating at a national level in South Africa, providing financial support for people entering tertiary education (colleges, universities, and vocational courses). The NSFAS is open for anyone who cannot afford such education through other means, such as regular student loans or bank funding.
NSFAS Allowance | How much does NSFAS pay to students?
The bursaries not only cover registration and tuition fees, but also make provision for other annual allowances. In 2021, these allowances amount to:
- An Accommodation allowance depending on what is charged by the college or university (private accommodation costs cannot exceed costs of halls of residence or institution-provided hostels).
- A book allowance of R5,200.
- A living allowance of R15,000.
- A personal care allowance of R2,900.
- A Transport allowance of R7,500 (no further than 40km from the place of study).
Who qualifies to apply?
In order to apply for NSFAS online for 2022, you must be a South African citizen, have been accepted for an undergraduate qualification for the first time, and be able to prove an annual household income of no more than R350,000. It should be noted that meeting these criteria is not a guarantee of being accepted for the NSFAS.
What is needed?
You will need to provide certain information, so it is worth getting this prepared in advance. The documentation needed consists of your contact details, ID and birthday certificate of both yourself and the members of your household (such as your spouse, parents
How to apply for NSFAS 2022 online
Applications for the 2022 academic year open on the 1st of September and close on the 30th of November 2021. The easiest way to apply is online, via the NSFAS website, but students can also apply via the Financial Aid Office, National Youth Development Agency offices or at the campus of where they are studying. Applications are giving a reference number and can be checked via the NSFAS website. Late application will be announced on www.nsfas.org.za
Consent form NSFA
One part of the application involves you giving consent to provide the above personal information. This form
My NSFAS status check hasn’t changed for 2022, it is still accessible on this link.
The appeals process.
It goes without saying that due to the NSFAS’ popularity, not everyone who applies will be successful. NSFAS Appeals are set out on the NSFAS website, where candidates are able to review the reasons for the rejection and set out in writing the grounds for their appeal (this should not exceed more than 1,000 characters). The appeal window closes in March each year. There are limited set grounds for NSFAS officials considering an appeal, so it helps to take note of these before starting the appeal process.
Payment dates 2022.
NSFAS allowances are paid monthly. In the 2022 cycle, these are often paid out on the third Monday of each month but there are also outlying dates throughout the year.
How will I get my laptop?
Once you have ordered your laptop online and all the necessary checks have been completed, you will be contacted to collect your laptop on the campus of the institution you are registered at.
NSFAS contact details
NSFAS head office contact details Cape Town
- Physical Address: 10 Brodie Road, House Vincent 2nd Floor, Wynberg, Cape Town, Western Cape, 7700
- Phone: 021 763 3200 / 08000 67327
NSFAS CEO contact details | Offices in Johannesburg (Gauteng)
- Physical Address: 17 Diagonal St, Newtown, Johannesburg, Gauteng, 2001
- Phone: 080 006 7327
NSFAS Bloemfontein Branch (Free State)
- GF Shop 125, Sanlam Plaza, Cnr Maitland and East Burger Street, 9301 — Bloemfontein
NSFAS Cape Town Branch
- Shop P 18a Piazza, Golden Acre Adderley Street, 8000 – Cape Town
NSFAS Durban Branch (KZN-KwaZulu Natal)
- Ground Floor, Smart Exchange Building, 5 Walnut Road (Cnr. Dr. AB Xuma), 4001 — Durban
NSFAS East London Branch (Eastern Cape)
- 31 Malcomess Park, Crn St Georges & Gately Street, Spar Complex5201 – Southernwood
NSFAS eMalahleni Branch (Mpumalanga)
- Shop 3, Pavillion Centre, 19 – 21 Botha Avenue, 1035 — Witbank
NSFAS Johannesburg Branch (Gauteng)
- 17 Diagonal Street, Old JSE Building, Ground Floor, Newtown, 2001 — Johannesburg
NSFAS Kimberley Branch (Northern Cape)
- Old Telkom Building, 64-70 De Toit Span Building, 8300 — Kimberley
NSFAS Mbombela Branch
- Office No 8, Imbizi place, Samora Machele Drive1201 —- Mbombela
NSFAS Newcastle Branch
- 37 Murchison Street, Tower Block, Newcastle, Durban
NSFAS Polokwane Branch (Limpopo)
- 60 Schoeman Street, Shop 10, Crescent Building, 0699 — Polokwane
NSFAS Gqeberha-Port Elizabeth Branch
- Kwantu Towers, Ground Floor, Govan Mbeki Avenue Vuyisile Mini Square, 6001 — Port Elizabeth
NSFAS Rustenburg Branch (North West)
- 39 Heystek Street, Next to SARS0299 — Rustenburg
NSFAS Secunda Branch
- Shop no 2 Game Park Centre, Horwood Street2302 – Secunda
NSFAS Soweto Branch
- 2127 Old Potchefstroom Road, Klipspruit1809 – Soweto
NSFAS Thulamela Branch Thohoyandou
- Thulamela Information Center, Punda Maria Road, 0950 — Thohoyandou
NSFAS Pretoria Tshwane Branch
- 429 Shoburg Building, Stanza Bopape Street, 0001 – Tshwane
The NSFAS is a hugely beneficial scheme, not just for South Africa but for individuals who would otherwise struggle to finance their higher education. Understanding the process, how it works and what to expect is a key part of preparing yourself for your application and to maximise your chances of acceptance.
The aim of the NSFAS is to get people without the financial means into further education, with a view to positively impact South Africa’s educational and human development goals. Monies paid to students before 2018 were issued as loans which were to be partially repaid over time; from 2018, fully subsidised tuition began to be phased in.