Does NSFAS Cover Postgraduate Studies?

By Dave Nyam •  Updated: 03/25/24 •  5 min read

The South African government’s NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) program helps students from underprivileged families enrol in universities and other higher institutions. NSFAS is a popular choice among students for financial assistance during their studies.

This blog article will address various topics, including whether NSFAS pays for postgraduate studies, how much it spends each month to support college students, and more. Understanding their eligibility for financial aid is crucial for both present and prospective students receiving NSFAS money.

Does NSFAS Cover Postgraduate Studies?

The National Student Financial Aid System (NSFAS) offers poor and working-class South Africans free higher education and training. NSFAS only funds the Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) and Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting, not a wide range of postgraduate degrees (PGDA). You should apply for financing through the National Research Foundation if you are pursuing a postgraduate degree not previously listed (NRF).

The National Research Fund (NRF) and NSFAS have cooperated in expanding postgraduate students’ access to financing options. Based on financial need and academic performance, this cooperation will enable a smooth transition for support of students moving from undergraduate to postgraduate study.

While the NRF provides financing for postgraduate students pursuing a research-based postgraduate degree, NSFAS funds work toward undergraduate students. Students who receive NSFAS funding are thus a crucial entry point for the pipeline of excellence in human capital development.

If you are an undergraduate student looking for assistance, you can apply for NSFAS bursaries, ensuring that your higher education is more than adequately covered. These bursaries will pay your tuition and housing costs and provide you with transportation, living, and book allowances. The only criteria to continue receiving funding after being granted a bursary is for students to pass their modules.

Will NSFAS Fund PGCE in 2024?

The DHET Bursary Regulations and Guidelines state that NSFAS will not sponsor PGCE in 2024. As a result, there won’t be an NSFAS application for PGCE funding for the academic year 2022-2024. However, those seeking funding for graduate courses should contact the National Research Foundation and fill out an application. In addition, the Department of Basic Education grants bursaries to PGCE candidates who intend to teach in high-need fields. The PGCE (Senior Phase and Further Education and Training Teaching) program is the only one supported by the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme (Grades 7–12).

It is important to remember that NSFAS offers financial assistance for specific credentials stated in the policy requirements. Only students in particular subjects, including B Techs in architecture and architectural technology, biotechnology, biomedical technology, and biokinetics, are accepted for postgraduate studies. Short courses, part-time study, studies pursued after graduation, courses taken at a private college or other institution of higher learning, and second degrees don’t fall under NSFAS’s supported degrees.

In conclusion, NSFAS will stop funding PGCE in 2024. However, students can still seek financial aid through other avenues such as the National Research Foundation, bursaries offered by the Department of Basic Education, and the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme.

Does NSFAS Fund Second Degree?

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is an agency of the South African government that offers financial assistance to students who cannot afford the cost of higher education. The answer to whether NSFAS supports second undergraduate degrees, which many students have, is no.

Whether you obtained financing for your first qualification, NSFAS does not guarantee support for a second undergraduate certificate. NSFAS mainly supports your first undergraduate degree and hardly ever helps students with their second undergraduate degree.

Moreover, NSFAS will only support you for one degree at a time at a single university. NSFAS funding is not available for two credentials at once.

You can apply for NSFAS support if you plan to enrol in school, are already enrolled there, or have applied and are awaiting acceptance to a school. But, before you can get money from the company, you must fulfil the conditions for NSFAS funding.

It is crucial to remember that NSFAS only finances specific courses. We advise reading the thorough list of courses that NSFAS supports on its official website. You should also study up on the students who can apply for NSFAS support.

Finally, NSFAS does not support second undergraduate degrees. They will pay for your first undergraduate degree if you meet the financing standards. Conducting research and ascertaining your eligibility for NSFAS financing before applying is essential.

How Much Does NSFAS Pay Monthly for University?

NSFAS offers financial assistance to eligible South African students enrolled at recognized universities. The amount of money that NSFAS disburses each month depends on the conditions and financial requirements of the particular student. NSFAS typically provides an R1500 monthly food, travel, and book allowance for ten months.

Whereas the book allowance is a one-time payment made at the start of the school year, the travel allowance is given monthly for ten months, from March to December. Students may also receive bursaries from NSFAS, depending on their financial needs. Depending on the NSFAS budget, bursaries are often given as a living allowance and may alter annually.

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