“I Am A Pioneer” is a campaign that brings the fruits of NSFAS funding to you. As we celebrate 26 years of NSFAS, we allow previous NSFAS beneficiaries who are successful and leaders in their respective fields, to tell their tales of hardship and how the impact of NSFAS funding propelled them to success.

They are just a part of our glorious alumni, our movers and shakers in their spaces of operation, who have changed lives in what they do as a result of access to higher education through NSFAS. They are referred to as Pioneers under the NSFAS Power of 26 campaign.


In 2016 NSFAS celebrated 25 years in existence and looked back on its proud history, where it disbursed more than R60 billion in loans and bursaries to millions of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds across all nine provinces. In 1991, the scheme disbursed R21.4 million in student funding, which grew to R70.4 million in 1994, R510.8 million in 2000, R1.2 billion in 2005 and R9 billion in 2014.

This year we celebrate 27 years of changing lives.

We provide funding to an average 450 000 students in any given academic year, half of whom study at South Africa’s 26 public universities, while the remaining others study at the country’s 50 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges. It is our aim to increase the number of students we support to more than 600 000, in order to include many other students who are left out of the system. Although we support as many students, we still do not provide funding to all eligible students who should ordinarily receive our support.


Funded by NSFAS between 1991 and 2016;
A successful graduate whose story of pioneering is inspirational and compelling;
Probably first in the family to graduate;
Came from disadvantaged backgrounds;
Shown great resilience to climb the social & business ladder;
Driven by paying it forward because of NSFAS is making a meaningful contribution in the lives of others;
Working in all industries and sectors

Are you a Pioneer?


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