Does NSFAS Cover Your Registration Fee?

By Tevait Feanle •  Updated: 05/30/24 •  5 min read

Registration fees are the first critical step on your journey to a tertiary education qualification. Many students hoping to leverage the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to fund their studies have concerns about getting past this first milestone in their studies, so today we’re breaking down everything you need to know about the NSFAS and registration fees, including how to confirm yours is paid, and what institutions will be covered.

Does NSFAS Cover the Registration Fee?

Yes, NSFAS does cover the registration fee for eligible students who are registered at public universities and TVET colleges in South Africa. As a critical part of ensuring you can access tertiary education, the registration fee is one of the many costs that NSFAS covers for eligible students to ensure that they have the means to study and further their education.

If you register for NSFAS and are approved before you approach your tertiary education establishment, they will pay the fee directly to the university or TVET College on your behalf, and you will need to do no more than confirm it has been paid. If you have already self-paid the registration fee, read on- you can get it covered under the terms of your NSFAS bursary!

How Do I Claim My NSFAS Registration Fee?

If you have already paid your registration fee and you are eligible for NSFAS funding, you can claim a refund for your registration fee.

The process of claiming a refund for your registration fee may vary depending on the university or TVET college you are enrolled in, so it’s always best to contact their financial aid office for specific guidance on how to proceed. But know that it can be done and that you are covered for this necessary tertiary education cost.

Does NSFAS Pay the Registration Fee at TVET Colleges?

Yes, NSFAS pays the registration fee for eligible students who are registered at TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) colleges in South Africa as well as for students entering university. In addition to covering tuition fees, NSFAS will also cover other study-related costs you face, including accommodation, meals, textbooks, and other learning materials.

However, don’t forget that obtaining NSFAS funding is subject to certain conditions and criteria, including your academic performance and financial needs. You must make sure your application is properly filled in and processed (and that you have been approved) to receive NSFAS funding.

What Does NSFAS Not Cover?

While NSFAS covers a wide range of your study-related costs, there are some expenses that are not covered by the scheme.

Firstly, NSFAS does not cover tuition at private higher education institutions. The scheme only covers public universities and TVET colleges in South Africa. NSFAS also does not cover non-tuition-related fees like application fees, late registration fees and other penalties, and your examination fees.

NSFAS will not cover the cost of repeating a course or module that a student has previously failed. While you can fail a module (within set limits) and keep your NSFAS funding for the course, you will have to self-fund repeated modules or additional tuition years beyond the N+1/N+2 rule.

NSFAS also does not cover non-academic expenses such as personal expenses, entertainment, and leisure activities. You can receive a stipend for student housing and food, but that will be all- and it should not be abused.

The terms of the NSFAS bursary do not cover the cost of postgraduate studies, including Honors, Masters, and PhD programs. Nor will it cover secondary Bachelor/TVET courses. It is designed to support you through obtaining your first tertiary education qualification only. It also does not cover the cost of short courses and workshops that are not part of an accredited qualification.

Students seeking to fund their studies through an NSFAS bursary must carefully read and understand the terms and conditions of their NSFAS funding to ensure that they are aware of what expenses are covered and what expenses are not. This will allow you to better plan your study journey.

How Do I Know if NSFAS Paid My Registration?

Once you have applied for funding from NSFAS, if you are wondering whether the scheme has paid your registration fee, you can check your registration status on the My NSFAS portal. 

Your funding status will be displayed, indicating whether your registration fee has been paid by NSFAS or not.

If your registration fee has been paid by NSFAS, you should also receive a confirmation from your university or TVET college’s financial aid office. They will inform you of the payment and provide you with a breakdown of the costs covered by NSFAS. If you have any further queries or concerns about your NSFAS funding, you can contact the NSFAS call centre or email them at info@nsfas.org.za.

And there you have it! With the registration fee for your studies covered, you can get down to work and obtain your academic qualification for a brighter future.

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