Are you looking to study but can’t fit the bill? Well, we’ve got some good news for you – financial aid is a real funding option. Find out more right here, right now.
In South Africa, universities and TVET colleges are extending a helping hand to assist students who possess the potential to study further but don’t necessarily have the means. How? Yes, financial aid is available for both types of institutions. They are offering different methods of financial aid. Internal and external university funding are different forms in which universities work to provide assistance.
Financial aid differs from other funding options in that it takes many forms: loans, bursaries, scholarships. In essence, it is any funding that assists students in being able to pay for their tertiary education.
Financial Aid…How Does it Work
All financial aid generally favours disadvantaged students who show great potential. At tertiary institutions, financial aid is divided into two groups, namely:
Internal University Funding:
This type of financial aid is awarded to both entry and postgraduate students, for academic and non-academic performances. TVET colleges, universities and universities of technology offer different financial aid packages and each package has its own set of requirements. Types of financial aid associated with this option include:
- Merit awards for academic performances
- Merit awards for non-academic performances
External Institution Funding:
Financial aid is provided by sources outside of the institution and is available to both undergraduate and postgraduate students for academic and non-academic performances. External financial aid has its own set of requirements which universities have no control over. Some external funding includes:
- Student loans
NSFAS Sounds Familiar…
NSFAS is a bursary that is offered to students. In some cases, NSFAS doesn’t cover all the costs involved and some universities offer to cover what NSFAS doesn’t. Universities do not handout NSFAS application forms any longer. They do however redirect you to the official NSFAS homepage for completion of the online form, alternatively, students can call 0800067327 for any further assistance. If you would like to read up some more on what NSFAS is and how it works then check out this Educonnect article about NSFAS: Guide to funding.
It is key to note that continued financial aid support depends on the student’s academic profile, meaning that each year the student must justify the need for the financial aid with academic results and proof of financial constraints.
Getting Financial Aid
Firstly, you will need to check if you meet the minimum requirements…
Below is a list of the requirements for NSFAS.
- Must be a South African citizen
- Must have a combined annual household income that does not exceed R350 000 per annum
- Be a SASSA grant recipient
- Be registered for the first time for an undergraduate qualification at a public university OR be registered at a TVET college for one of the National Certificate Vocational or report 191 programme
- Are applying to study at a public university or TVET College for a qualification
- Are a registered university student with an annual household income of less than R122 000 per annum
- Passed grade 9 and 10 to receive NSFAS funding to study at a TVET college
- Passed grade 12 to receive NSFAS funding to study at a university
NSFAS is one of the most popular financial aid options. For external funding, it helps to apply well in advance as most of these options have deadlines. Despite the fact that they generally accommodate financial aid approval before applying for admission, they will require proof of admission for the funds to be released for your studies.
Internal university funding information is available on each institution’s website.
If all requirements are met, then you need to apply at a university, university of technology or TVET college for admission and student housing. Once that step is completed, then only can you apply for financial aid. All institutions provide information on the application process – it is very important that you read up on the institution’s financial aid application process and speak to the financial aid office.
Then comes the hard part, waiting for approval or rejection regarding the funding. Being approved is beyond the tertiary institution’s power for external funding (including NSFAS). Both approvals and rejections are communicated in a timeous manner to provide students with information on how to move forward. Internal university funding approvals will be communicated by the institutions directly.
Institution Financial Aid
This is the part where we tell you which institutions offer internal financial aid. This is valuable information so listen up 🙂
Financial Aid Facts
- The universities reserve the right to amend, without prior notice, the regulations and bursary/loan values and/or conditions applicable to the awarding of bursaries/loans
- Students can only make use of one financial aid package
- Universities reserve the right to take action and withdraw all funding if such funding was received as a result of fraud
- Eligibility for renewal of all funding programmes is subject to students passing registered courses in the prior academic year
Most people think that all forms of financial aid is free and don’t require any payback which isn’t the case. If you’re making use of financial aid, then make sure that you understand exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Be sure to read the fine print and the extra fine print, more than once if need be. That being said, financial aid is a fantastic way to pay for your studies and it provides an opportunity for you to score a qualification.