The National Student Financial Aid Scheme: Here’s how it works

19 May 2018


The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is positioned to play a critical role in ensuring delivery of free tertiary education for South African students that can’t afford high university/college fees. Here’s how NSFAS works.

Who qualifies?

NSFAS exists to provide financial aid, loans and bursaries, to qualifying students enrolled at public universities and technical (TVET) colleges. The qualifying students are primarily those that come from households with an annual income of no more than R350 000 per year (R30 000 per month).

How to apply?

The Online Option:

You can apply online. Go to MY.NSFAS.ORG.ZA and follow the steps (You can also see the steps on this page)

Drop and go option:

You can choose the drop and go option via the NYDA points. Your nearest NYDA center should have the paper application form to fill in. CLICK HERE TO FIND A NYDA OR LYO OFFICE NEAR YOU

Note that:

  •  Your parents/guardian will need to sign the consent form.
  • Have certified copies of the listed supporting documents with you and attach them to the application form by stapling them together before submitting the application.
  • The documents must be certified on the front side of the page and should not be older than 3 months.
  • Sign the completed application form and take it to one of the assistants to check that everything is in place.

You will receive a small acknowledgement of receipt card, to which the assistant will attach a bar code (a duplicate bar code will also be attached to your application form).

Make sure you submit your application on or before the closing date of 30 November. Applications that arrive after this date will not be considered.

The check list before applying

Before applying you should have decided which course you want to study and at which public university/TVET college. You will need to select these choices in the application form.

 Make sure you have electronic (and certified copies) of the following:

  • Your South African identity document/card or, an unabridged birth certificate
  • IDs of parents and/or guardian (or death certificate where applicable)
  • IDs of each person living with you in your home
  • Pay advice/letter of employment/pension advice (not older than three months)
  • Please download the consent form and fill it in with your parent/guardian’s signatures. Applications without a consent form that is signed by all people whose incomes have been declared in the application will not be accepted, and will be considered as incomplete.
  • If you have a disability, please download the Disability Annexure A and fill it in
Contact details:

When you provide your cell phone number on the application form, make sure it works and please do not change it afterwards, as NSFAS will use it to communicate with you during and after the application process. Please do not provide someone else’s cell phone number as your contact number.

You will also need an email address. If you do not have an email address, you can easily create a gmail address, by clicking here.

You must not apply if:

– You have already applied and have an application reference number
– You are not intending to apply for admission to a public university or TVET college
– You already have NSFAS funding for the current year
– You are not a South African citizen

Postgraduate studies:

Only students who plan to do the following postgraduate qualification may apply:

  • B Tech – Architecture/Architectural Technology
  • B Tech – Biokinetics/Biomedical Technology/Biotechnology
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting, and
  • LLB

Students wishing to undertake other postgraduate qualifications should try other institutions like the the National Research Foundation (NRF): Click here for more information

What is Central Applications Clearing House (CACH) & how does it work?


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