For many South Africans who can or plan to study further, the cost of higher education makes it nearly impossible for competent and gifted South Africans to access tertiary education; NSFAS bridges that gap. NSFAS provides loans to eligible South Africans who want to continue their education through specific colleges or universities, and unlike a traditional loan, students only need to pay back the NSFAS loan if they don’t complete their studies or when they get a job and reach an income of more than R30,000 a year.
How NSFAS Works
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme gives student loans at low-interest rates, which they only need to repay when they get a job. At the start of the process, you need to be accepted by a TVET college or university. Keep in mind that not all colleges accept NSFAS. From there, you will be assessed by NSFAS based on the information provided in your application.
Then, if you are approved for a loan, you will need to sign a legally binding loan agreement that discloses the repayment terms, including how much you’re going to repay when you get a job.
Students will only start repaying the NSFAS loan after they get a job where they earn more than R30,000 annually. When you earn between R30 000 and R59 300 a year, you only pay 3% of your annual salary to repay NSFAS loans. However, if your income is more than R59 300, this will be bumped up to 8%, which equates to R395 a month.
After signing the loan agreement, NSFAS will pay the funds to the university and provide you with finances to cover the cost of attending a tertiary education, such as housing allowances.
The loans cover TVET colleges as well as universities. However, not all TVET colleges accept NSFAS.
How Do I Apply for NSFAS Online?
Applying for NSFAS funding is quick and easy. The entire process can be completed online with very limited paperwork involved. But, to make the process even easier, this step-by-step process should be of assistance.
Step 1: Create a MyNSFAS Account
If you have never applied for NSFAS funding before, you need to create a myNSFAS profile. When creating a profile, you will need to insert a valid ID number, email address, and phone number. You will also need to create a password and upload a copy of your ID.
Note: Those using a Smart ID will need to attach the back and front of their IDs.
Step 2: Complete an Application
After creating the account, you will need to sign in using the email address and password you entered. On your dashboard, you will see a tab “Apply” click on it to be taken to the application form.
From there, you will need to input more information, like your educational background, household income, job status, address, and so on. Ensure you fill in all the spaces on the form accurately and honestly, as NSFAS will double-check the information you provide with third parties like SARS and South African banks.
Step 3: Upload Supporting Documents
To complete your application process –– and ensure NSFAS can process your application –– you will need to upload all supporting documents, which include:
- A copy of a valid ID (which can include a temporary ID from Home Affairs)
- Copy of your spouse, parent/s, or legal guardian’s ID
- Proof of income for income earners in your household, e.g. parents, legal guardians, or spouse (for non-SASSA applicants)
- If you have a disability: complete annexure A form
Step 4: Submit Your NSFAS Application and Wait for Feedback
After you’ve uploaded your supporting documents, you can click submit on the application. Just be sure that you have all the necessary information, as your application may be declined if your application is lacking.
Is NSFAS Open for 2023 Applications?
NSFAS applications for 2023 start in November and end in January. During this three-month window, students can apply or reapply for funding for the upcoming school year.
Even beyond 2023, you will also need to submit your application between the beginning of November and the beginning of January.
However, in 2023 NSFAS has chosen to extend the application deadline by two weeks. Instead of the application deadline ending on 7 January, it will end on 21 January 2023.
How Do I Check my Status on myNSFAS?
After applying for NSFAS funding, waiting for an outcome can be frustrating, not only because you may need the money to pay for your further education but also because many of your hopes and dreams rely on your funding being approved.
For that reason, you should know how to find your status on myNSFAS.
Step 1: Login to Your myNSFAS Profile
Visit the myNSFAS portal and enter your login details.
Step 2: Navigate to Track Application
Once you’re on your dashboard, navigate to the tab that says “Track Application.” From there, you will be redirected to a page that will show you the status of your NSFAS application.
Who is Eligible for NSFAS Funding, and What is the Age Limit for NSFAS?
South Africa has a very unique tertiary education system, as many people well into adulthood are still completing undergraduate programs and degrees or attending TVET colleges as they may not have had the opportunity to before. Because of this, many people want to know if NSFAS has an age limit. You may be happy to know that NSFAS does not have an age limit, so whether you’re 18 to 80, you can apply for NSFAS.
However, there are criteria you need to meet to apply for NSFAS, which include:
- Combined household income not exceeding R350,000 or R600,000 if you have a disability.
- You must have applied to and been accepted by the university or TVET you want NSFAS to fund
- You must be studying for an undergraduate degree.
If you meet these criteria, you can apply for NSFAS.
What Happens if My Funding Application Gets Rejected by NSFAS?
If your funding application is rejected, you’ll be able to appeal this decision, either through the myNSFAS portal if you’re a first-time applicant or through the institution, you’re studying at if you’re continuing your studies.
If you need more information about the application process, how the funding works, and if you are eligible for funding, visit the NSFAS website or message them on Twitter @myNSFAS or Facebook @nsfas.org.za.