The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) offers funding in the form of bursaries to South African students to help them obtain higher education and training. This is all managed on myNSFAS. Here’s how it works.
In December 2017, the President announced that NSFAS would be offering fully subsidised higher education and training to poor and working-class South Africans. Sound too good to be true? It gets better! The best part of this offer is that applying for NSFAS funding is easy and there are plenty of resources available to help you every step of the way.
First Things First, what does NSFAS help with?
Before compiling all the paperwork, I’m sure you’re sitting there wondering, ‘what does this bursary entail?’ NSFAS funding is all-encompassing and it includes:
- Subsidised meal allowances
- Prescribed learning material to a maximum set by NSFAS
- Subsidised book allowance
- Registration fees
- Tuition fee (total cost of study)
- Subsidised accommodations to a maximum set by NSFAS
- Subsidised transport allowances for spending
Allowances are given to students in the form of sBux which are handed out via cellphone vouchers. These vouchers can be spent at any registered sBux merchants and the amounts are determined through consultation with the relevant institution. (Even takealot.com allows you to purchase various academics books using sBux.)
To receive your NSFAS allowances via sBux all you need to do is have your own cellphone and valid sim card, sign your NSFAS Bursary Agreement, and, if you are staying in private accommodation, ensure that your landlord is registered on sBux. If your landlord is not registered, they can register here.
Sound good? Let’s get you Started
In order to apply for NSFAS funding, you need to:
- Be a South African citizen
- Have a combined household income that does not exceed R350 000 per annum
- Be a SASSA grant recipient
- Be registering for the first time for an undergraduate qualification at a public university OR be registering at a TVET college for one of the National Certificate Vocational or report 191 programme
- Be applying to study at a public university or TVET college for a qualification OR already be a registered university student with an annual household income of less than R122 000 per year
- Have passed Grade 9 and 10 to receive NSFAS funding to study at a TVET college
- Have passed Grade 12 to receive NSFAS funding at a university
In a statement released in December 2018, Minister Naledi Pandor highlighted that the 2019 application process was a smooth one due to the revised and easy-to-complete online application process; the simple online and manual application form and the accessibility of the funding.
This statement is a testament to the fact that you can apply for NSFAS funding online or at your nearest NYDA Centre. When you apply, all you need to have are certified copies of the following (not older than 3 months):
- A certified copy of your South African ID documents/card
- Your parents’ and/or guardian’s IDs (or death certificates where applicable)
- Proof of your household income not over more than 3 months in the form of pay advice/letter of employment/pension advice
- Completed Consent form signed by a parent or legal guardian
- Completed Disability Annexure A if applicable
“It is important to note that you need to have a mobile phone number and email address. This will allow NSFAS to stay in touch with you throughout, during and after the application process”
Right. Now that you have all the paperwork together you are ready to go.
Like the Sound of just Applying Online?
As discussed, there is the option of applying for NSFAS funding at your nearest NYDA Centre but with myNSFAS you can submit your application from the comfort of your couch.
How to use myNSFAS
Visit http://www.nsfas.org.za/content/ and click on myNSFAS. Here, you will be prompted to fill in a username and password as well as your ID number, email address and cellphone number. Next, you will receive an OTP for confirmation and after you have entered this into the system you will be directed to the myNSFAS dashboard page. Once you have filled in the rest of your personal details and submitted the certified documents outlined above, you can select the Apply tab.
“It is important to note that although the online application process is an easy one, you need to read the small print. If minor details are missed, the application process can take longer than it needs to”
Once the application process is complete, you can use myNSFAS to monitor your application status, view balances, update personal details and apply for continued funding. myNSFAS is your personal portal to everything you need to do know before, during and after you’ve been funded by NSFAS.
Still not sure?
NSFAS offers a wide range of support for both current and prospective students. The NSFAS FAQs page answers a range of queries but if this still doesn’t have what you’re looking for you can also get hold of NSFAS here. If it’s personal assistance you’re looking for, you can also visit your nearest NYDA service branch. NYDA branches are located across the country and aim to provide direct support to students applying for NSFAS funding.
The main priority of NSFAS is to provide effective access to financial aid as a way to promote success in higher and further education, and with a range of application options and a strong support structure, NSFAS makes this all a reality.
Yes, it is only February and yes, the 2019 NSFAS applications are currently closed but why not get ahead of the game for 2020? The sooner you submit your application for NSFAS funding the better your chance to find funding.