The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is a Government agency that administers funds to assist South African students to pay for their tertiary studies. We offer loans and bursaries for first undergraduate degrees at South African public Universities and Universities of Technology, as well as bursaries for the National Certificate (Vocational) at public Further Education & Training (FET) Colleges. (We are unable to fund studies at private institutions.)
Most students we assist receive money for their studies by way of low-interest loans. These loans (capital and interest) are repayable as soon as the student begins to work and earns more than R30 000 per year. The parents of the student are not responsible for repaying the loan.
Bursaries for specific fields of study are also available, e.g. the Funza Lushaka Bursary for teaching (certain teaching subjects only), bursaries for social work studies, as well as bursaries for various scarce skills such as engineering, IT, and so on. (If you wish to become a teacher, you may qualify for the Funza Lushaka bursary. You can obtain more information about the bursary from the relevant website – www.funzalushaka.doe.gov.za – or from the University Financial Aid Office. Applications for the bursary may be done online. Bursaries are also available for studying social work, and you can obtain further information from your regional Department of Social Development office or the University Financial Aid Office.) For FET Colleges, the financial assistance available through NSFAS is a bursary for studying a National Certificate (Vocational).
The process for accessing financial assistance is as follows:
First apply for academic acceptance at a public University or FET College. Most universities close their applications by about September or October of the previous year, and it is best to use either the end-of-year Grade 11 results or the June Grade 12 results to apply for a place at a university.
Apply for financial assistance at the University’s Financial Aid Office or the Student Support Centre at an FET College. The Financial Aid Office handles a variety of different types of financial assistance – scholarships, bursaries and loans. At most universities, the bulk of the money available for student funding is money administered by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
Take along your South African barcoded ID, proof of household income (such as, salary or pension slips for your parents/legal guardians, or a sworn Affidavit confirming that the household has no form of income), and a list of the names of other members of your household who are studying or at school, as well as certified copies of their IDs.
Applications for funding are not dealt with by NSFAS directly, so you need to contact the Financial Aid Office or FET College Student Support Centre concerning anything relating to your application.
If you wish to find out more about the funding administered by NSFAS, you can write to us at Private Bag X1, Plumstead 7801, or telephone our call centre on 021 763 3232, or SMS your query to 32261 (Standard SMS rates apply), or send an e-mail to [email protected]. If you’d like to find out more information regarding FET Colleges, contact your nearest College. Alternatively, visit the Department of Higher Education and Training website, (www.education.gov.za. Click on “DoE Branches” and then on “Further Education and Training” and on “Youth Development”.)