The National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS, has consistently supported economically challenged and financially disadvantaged students from less privileged backgrounds undertaking study programs at accredited institutions of tertiary learning in South Africa.
This support is expressed through financial facilities available through allowances that cover study-related and personal needs like living allowance, travel, study materials, accommodation, and incidental allowance.
The support offered by the NSFAS comes with attached terms and conditions that stipulate study programs that are eligible for NSFAS funding; it behoves an average student desiring NSFAS funding support to be acquainted with the scheme’s eligibility requirements.
Which qualifications does NSFAS fund?
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS provides financial support to eligible students for specified study and personal costs that arise while undertaking a study program at a tertiary education institution.
Consequently, students enrolled in studies at a technical and vocational education training college or university in South Africa can apply for funding from the NSFAS. The scheme does not typically fund postgraduate studies. However, students studying for the following postgraduate qualifications can apply for funding from NSFAS:
- B Tech in Agriculture and Agricultural Technology
- B Tech in Biokinetics, Biomedical Technology, and Biotechnology
- B Tech in Chiropractic
- B Tech in Clinical Technology and Dental Technology
- B Tech in Emergency Medical Care
- B Tech in Engineering.
Eligible subfields include Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Mechatronics, Metallurgy, and Refractories.
- B Tech in Forestry
- B Tech in Homoeopathy
- B Tech in Nursing, Nursing Science, Community Nursing, Primary Healthcare or Occupational Nursing
- Postgraduate Certificate in Education
- Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting
- Bachelor of Laws/ LLB
Eligible qualifications covered by the NSFAS are organised into two broad categories:
- Certificate qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework on Level 5 with qualifications equal to Higher Certificate or National Higher Certificate.
- Undergraduate qualifications that have been registered on the National Qualifications Framework on Level 6, 7, or 8 and are equal to Advanced Diploma, Diploma, or National Diploma
- Eligible courses approved by a TVET college and duly registered on the National Qualification Framework.
It is useful to note that NSFAS funding is offered to students of public tertiary institutions in South Africa. Consequently, students at private institutions are excluded from the scheme’s eligibility pool.
Recipients of NSFAS funding can expect the following perks and benefits:
- Registration fees
- Tuition fees
- Allowances for food, personal care, learning material, and housing.
In certain instances, additional benefits may be included, such as:
- Coverage for medical assessments is limited to a single assessment for the duration of the course program and upon request.
- Coverage for assistive devices, which may be limited to one assistive device for the duration of the study program
- Coverage for the cost of hiring human support personnel such as caregiver, guide-dog, scribe, tutor, or sign language interpreter.
These benefits are available for students with disabilities.
Does NSFAS fund second undergraduate qualification?
NSFAS funding offers financial support to students undertaking study programs at an institution of tertiary learning in South Africa. In the case of undergraduate students, this support covers a broad range of living and study costs, including housing and feeding. However, this support does not extend to a second degree or qualification.
As announced by the NSFAS in reply to an inquiry on Twitter, students with an existing qualification are ineligible for funding support from the scheme. Funding support available under the scheme is reserved for students with no previous qualification and seeking a university qualification for the first time.
However, this stipulation is waived for students who studied at a technical and vocational education training (TVET) college and are applying for a university qualification for the first time. Fundamentally, students pursuing a second undergraduate qualification are excluded from the scheme.
Can you apply for NSFAS for a second undergraduate degree?
Students studying for a second undergraduate degree are considered ineligible for NSFAS financial support. Consequently, anyone within this category cannot apply for NSFAS funding. However, this restriction clause is lifted for students enrolled in studies at a public university in South Africa with an existing qualification from a technical vocational education and training college, also known as a TVET college.
In summary, NSFAS applications are only open to individuals enrolled for their first undergraduate degree at a public university in South Africa. This provision excludes students enrolled for studies at private universities.
Can NSFAS fund you twice for different qualifications?
NSFAS funding offers cover for study-related and personal needs like living allowance, travel, registration fees, study materials, accommodation, and incidental allowance. This support is available for first-time degree students at public universities in South Africa and individuals studying at a technical, vocational education, and training college.
Beyond this, funding is not guaranteed for students pursuing second qualifications. In the case of students enrolled for studies at a public university in South Africa, sequel to the attainment of a qualification from a TVET college, they can receive funding to cover the undergraduate program after application and due approval.
Students pursuing selected postgraduate programs can also secure NSFAS funding to cover their courses. t any time. Funding is only granted upon application and approval by the concerned student.
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