National Student Financial Aid Scheme or NSFAS provides funds to students who are enrolled in government institutes in Africa for higher education.
You can submit an online application to register yourself for NSFAS, but there are some questions and important things that you must know before you apply. This is because NSFAS has a strict policy structure and your application will get rejected in the first place if you are not eligible for the NSFAS funding program.
Therefore, let’s talk about the NSFAS program and its eligibility criteria first, then I’ll guide you on how to apply or register for the NSFAS funding program by submitting an online application form.
Therefore, I am writing this article to share my knowledge on the NSFAS program, the NSFAS application online, eligibility requirements, registration, and more.
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There is no doubt that NSFAS is a successful program funding African students with disabilities, poverty, unemployment, and other issues, but queries related to the program are still unanswered by most willing and deserving nationals. I think the main reason is the lack of advertisements and guidelines on the NSFAS official website.
Understand Five Different Cohorts
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme or NSFAS program was initiated under the Department of Higher Education and Training or DHET, Africa. The program invites students to register their selves for NSFAS funding and pursue secondary and tertiary education at public sector universities and TVET colleges in South Africa.
You can apply for the NSFAS program by submitting the online application form, but first, you need to get enrolled in a registered public university or TVET college.
The NSFAS program has divided the applicants into five different cohorts:
- Cohort 1 represents the students who’re first-time entering students. They are also classified as FTEN.
- Cohort 2 represents the returning students, that have received or applied for the NSFAS program before.
- Cohort 3 represents the FTEN (first-time entering students) who are not the recipients of SASSA beneficiaries.
- Cohort 4 represents the returning students who are not the recipients of SASSA beneficiaries.
- Lastly, Cohort 5 represents the students with disabilities.
Read NSFAS Requirements
When applying for the NSFAS funding program, the applicant should know about the eligibility criteria set by the officials. This is because if you’re not eligible for NSFAS funds, your application will get rejected by the concerned authorities in the first place.
So it is better to not waste your time, effort, and money on something which is not meant for you.
Well, I am not saying this to discourage or disappoint you at all. The NSFAS funding program is open to all deserving nationals of South Africa, but it does have certain criteria that you need to consider before you apply for the NSFAS funding program. Let’s quickly talk about the entry criteria for NSFAS below:
- An applicant must be a citizen or national of South Africa; that’s the first or primary eligibility criteria. If you belong to some other country or state, you cannot apply for the NSFAS funding program. I got to know this when my Srilankan friend’s NSFAS application online got rejected. If you’re a South African national and hold that identity, you’re welcome to apply for the NSFAS program.
- Secondly, the applicant must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree or is willing to get enrolled this year. You need to submit the admission confirmation letter issued by the university in which you are studying or are planning to study soon.
- In this sequence, there is another thing that you must know not all South African undergraduate institutes are approved for NSFAS funding. There are certain TVET colleges and universities that are registered by the concerned officials and students enrolled in those institutes will only get funded by the NSFAS program.
- Another criterion is that the applicant should not have completed any qualifications before the undergrad degree. This policy sounds odd to most of the applicants, but it does make sense because the primary aim of the NSFAS funding program is to aid students or citizens who’re illiterate because of financial issues.
- Moreover, if you don’t fall into any of these following categories, you are ineligible for NSFAS funding: you are the recipient of a SASSA grant, the total and combined income of your household is no more than R350,000 per annum, and you have a disability. To facilitate the disabled deserving nationals more, the NSFAS has expanded the household income limit to R600,000 per annum.
- The eligibility criteria are not limited to the stage when you are an applicant, but they do apply when you are a recipient. This is because NSFAS program officials make sure that the money is granted to “DESERVING” South Africans only.
In this sequence, there are certain obligations of students who are recipients of NSFAS; let me explain.
- As an NSFAS-funded student, you need to present and participate in all the academic programs, tutorials, events, and lectures which are required for the completion of your undergraduate degree.
- A recipient should complete all the tasks, projects, assignments, etc., that are required by this institution with good grades.
Note Down NSFAS Closing Date For 2023
NSFAS funding program is not open all year, but it welcomes deserving nationals twice a year.
Likewise, the NSFAS applications for 2023 were closed on 31st January 2023.
If you want to fund for the 2024-2025 year, the NSFAS applications will open again in September. You need to keep an eye on the official website of NSFAS or your portal to get the latest updates about the dates in September.
According to the latest updates by NSFAS officials, the NSFAS application online for the 2024 to 2025 academic year will open from 28th September 2023 to 31st January 2024. Again, you are suggested to see the portal and official website to see if there are any further changes in the updates.
Note Down NSFAS Opening Date For 2024
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme or NSFAS will open the online application window from 28th September 2023 to 31st January 2024.
You are suggested to track the notice board from the official website to see if there are any amendments to the dates.
Apply For NSFAS Online
That’s probably the most frequently asked question about the NSFAS funding program. Well, for beginners it might be a challenging task to do, but once you know all the steps rightly, it will be easier for you to apply online.
When I first applied for the NSFAS funding program, there was no online system. Applicants stand in the queue at post offices near their residences and submit their documents along with the application forms to the post office.
But, now the scenario is a bit more advanced, user-friendly, and overall different as you can now submit the application form for NSFAS funding online.
To submit the NSFAS application online, you need to visit the NSFAS portal and create an account there.
- Once you open the portal and clock on the create an account option, the empty fields will appear on the screen.
- You need to fill in the required details including your identity card number, given name, last name, email address, phone number, and password.
- When choosing the password, you need to be extra careful and avoid entering your name, phone number, or something similar.
- After setting the password, I always write it in my notebook on my phone, so that if I don’t memorize the password in the future, I can see it in my notes.
- Also, the phone number and email address you are providing to the NSFAS should be of your own and fully functional.
- This is because you will receive all the updates about the funding program and more in the future from NSFAS officials on the same phone number and email address.
- After filling in all the required fields, tap on the confirm and your NSFAS account will be created. You’ll also receive a confirmatory email or message from the NSFAS.
- After creating an NSFAS account, you can log into it by clicking on the nsfas login tab. Enter your ID and password to check if your account is successfully created or not.
You can apply from the NSFAS portal for the funding program, track your NSFAS status, and funds, change the bank details, and everything from the portal; isn’t it so convenient?
Documents Needed to Apply For NSFAS 2023
When applying for the NSFAS funding program, the applicant needs to submit a certified copy of the required document. Please make sure that your documents are certified by the South African post office or the South African police service; otherwise, the documents will not be considered and the application may get rejected.
Regardless of whether you are 18 years old or under 18 years, you need to submit all the required documents to NSFAS including the proof of combined or net household income.
Don’t even try to submit fake documents at all because NSFAS always verifies all the documents before funding an applicant. In case of any fraudulent document submission, you’ll get a penalty under the NSFAS official regulations.
These documents are required for NSFAS online application:
- A valid copy of your identity or birth certificate. (if you’re younger than sixteen years, you need to submit the unabridged birth certificate)
- Copy IDs of guardians and parents (if parents have died, you need to submit the death certificate)
- and IDs of all the persons living with you in the same house.
As the NSFAS funding program aims to help the students financially, so it always makes sure that funds are provided to deserving nationals only. Therefore, proof of household income is very important. You need to submit the payslips, appointment letters, or any other employment or salary details.
If you are currently unemployed, retired, or disabled, you need to submit certified copies of all the other benefits you get. It could be any unemployment insurance fund, life fund, etc.
In addition, you need to submit all the academic records like transcripts, examination results, or any certificates that you have earned till now. Also, submit the registration documents or proof that you are enrolled in the university, traveling expenses, accommodation, marital status, and more.
Download and complete the form and fill in all the signatures of people whose income has been mentioned in the NSFAS application. If you have a disability, please read the Annexure A form available at the NSFAS official website and submit it.
To check status of your NSFAS application, we have a separate method with all FAQs answered, click below to learn it.
Who qualifies for NSFAS?
An applicant must be a citizen or national of South Africa, the applicant must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree or is willing to get enrolled this year in the TVET colleges and universities that are registered by the concerned officials, the applicant should not have completed any qualifications before the undergrad degree and the total and combined income of your household are no more than R350,000 per annum.
When will the NSFAS online application open?
The NSFAS application online for the 2024 to 2025 academic year will open from 28th September 2023 to 31st January 2024. Again, you are suggested to see the portal and official website to see if there are any further changes in the updates.
What expenses does the NSFAS funding program bear?
The NSFAS funding program bears all your study expenses including tuition fees, living expenses, traveling charges, food expenses, and more. NSFAS also offers money for your study materials like books, notes, etc.
NSFAS is a successfully running financial aid program in South Africa that helps students who want to pursue their education. The program invites students to register their selves for NSFAS funding and pursue secondary and tertiary education at public sector universities and TVET colleges in South Africa.
In this article, I have compiled details about how to apply for NSFAS online, the registration procedure, eligibility criteria, and more.