• Applications

  • Where, how and when should I apply for 2018 funding?

    The applications cycle for 2018 NSFAS funding was open from 1 August to 30 November 2017. Students in need of financial aid who have not applied during this period will be required to contact their TVET College or public university for assistance.

  • Must I apply for 2018 if I am funded by NSFAS in 2017?

    No. All students who are funded by NSFAS in 2017 need not apply again for 2018 as they will be automatically funded by NSFAS for the next academic year/semester, provided they pass their modules and meet the progression requirements of the course and institution. NSFAS students who received a NSFAS loan in 2017 will receive a bursary in 2018 if they meet the above requirements.

  • Does NSFAS fund postgraduate qualifications?

    NSFAS only accepts postgraduate applications for the following postgraduate qualifications:
    1. B-Tech Architecture/Architectural Technology
    2. B Tech - Biokinetics/Biomedical Technology/Biotechnology
    3. Postgraduate Certificate in Education
    4. Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting, and
    5. LLB

  • Which institutions does NSFAS provide funding for?

    NSFAS will only provide financial assistance to students who have applied and have been accepted at public universities and TVET colleges. Students who intend to study at private institutions will not be assisted by NSFAS.

  • Can students with disabilities apply receive funding?

    Yes. Students with disabilities are encouraged to apply for financial assistance. NSFAS provides special disability funding to all approved students with disabilities at any of the 26 public universities or 50 TVET colleges.

  • Does NSFAS pay registration costs for first-year and returning students?

    Yes. Registration costs are usually the first payment towards your tuition costs, and if you have been confirmed for funding by NSFAS, universities and TVET colleges will not expect you to pay the registration fees upfront.

  • Repayments

  • How do I repay the student loan?

    NSFAS student loans are income-contingent, which means that repayment commences when you start working. NSFAS will send you statements to help you keep track of how much you owe. It is your legal responsibility to keep in touch with NSFAS and to inform us of any change of address and contact details.

  • How are repayments calculated?

    Repayments of your student loan are based on the salary that you earn, and start once your salary is R30 000 or more per year. The repayment amount starts at a calculation of 3% of your annual salary, increasing to a maximum of 8% when your salary reaches R59 300 or more per year. For example, you will repay R900 on a salary of R30 000 a year, or R75 per month. Once your annual salary reaches R59 300 your repayment will be R4 744 a year or R395 a month. You can choose to pay more than this, so that you can pay off your loan off faster, and reduce the amount of interest you will be charged on your loan.

    Interest is charged at 80% of the repo rate, which is the repurchase rate at which the Reserve Bank lends to commercial banks. NSFAS will continue to charge interest on all outstanding balances, making it imperative that you start repaying your loan as soon as possible. The interest rate is set at the beginning of every financial year (April).

  • How do you ensure that students pay back the money?

    Students sign a legally binding loan agreement contract to repay their loans. NSFAS also works with third party organisations (e.g SARS to track down NSFAS beneficiaries who are employed and earning more than R30 000 per year and make payment arrangements.

  • How much do students owe, on average?

    The amount owed varies, as some students might be funded for only one year while others may be funded for their whole qualification. Some students owe R10 000, others owe R150 000.

  • How much of the loan repayment assists in funding other students?

    Every cent of a loan repayment goes towards helping other students with funding.

  • Can NSFAS still thrive while carrying unpaid loans?

    NSFAS receives annual allocations from government through the budget of the Department of Higher Education and Training to provide financial aid to students. This is then supplemented by the loans paid back by students.

    How many students pay back each year?

    About 84 500 students pay back their student loans each year, making total repayments an estimated R45 million a month, or R540 million a year.

  • How much time do students have to pay back their loans?

    No time limit is given for repayment, since this is determined by the salary of the debtor, and his or her ability to repay. Those who are unemployed are not expected to repay.

  • What happens if a student loses his/her job while still paying back their loan?

    Those who are unemployed are not expected to repay, but must inform NSFAS whenever their employment status changes.

  • What about students who drop out during their studies?

    Students who drop out are still required to repay their loan when they start earning R30 000 or more a year.

  • When and how is a loan converted into a bursary?

    Different loans have different rules about conversion. Up to a maximum of 40% of a general loan is converted into a bursary when a student passes all of the courses they were registered for in that year. Students who apply at their institution's Financial Aid Office to be on the NSFAS Final-Year Programme have their final-year loans converted into a 100% bursary if they pass all of their final-year courses and qualify to graduate. If they do not pass all subjects, the conversion applicable to general loans is applied.

  • How do these bursary conversions show on NSFAS repayments?

    The bursary conversion shows as a rebate on your statement when NSFAS receives your academic results from the university. This takes place at the end of the NSFAS financial year in April.

    Your academic results are used to calculate any bursary rebates: for example, 40% of your student loan will be converted into a bursary if you pass all courses; if you pass half of your courses, then 20% of the student loan will be converted into a bursary. If you don't pass any courses, you will not receive any bursary rebate for that academic year and you will have to repay 100% of your student loan.

  • Is it true that the NSFAS loans of successful third-year university students do not need to be repaid?

    Students in their final year of study, who qualify to graduate if they pass all their courses, are eligible to be funded through the Final-Year Programme, a fund announced by the President in 2011. You may apply to be part of this programme at your institution's Financial Aid Office. Should a Final-Year Programme student successfully graduate, the loan is converted to a 100% bursary. Students can only benefit from this programme once.

  • Bursaries

  • Who qualifies for a TVET college bursary?

    A student may qualify for a TVET college bursary if he/she is:

    • Registered at a public South African TVET college;
    • Registered for the National Certificate (vocational);
    • Registered for certain Report 191 (NATED) programmes, including N1-N6 in engineering and N4-N6 in all other fields.

  • Do I have to repay this bursary upon completing my studies?

    No, unlike a loan, the TVET college bursary is a 100% bursary and is not repayable.

  • How do I apply for a TVET college bursary?

    A TVET College student or prospective student must apply for NSFAS funding during the NSFAS application period. Provide all the information required. Make sure that you have all the supporting documents required, such as:

    • A certified copy of your South African Identity Document;
    • Identity documents of parents or guardians;
    • Proof of your parents’ or guardians’ income (salary slip or proof of pension).

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