The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has financially supported students from poverty-stricken and working-class families since 1999. Learners from poorer households that earn less than R350 000 and no more than R600 000 for disabled students per year can access the NSFAS Website to apply.
Does NSFAS Fund an Advanced Diploma?
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Unfortunately, the NSFAS does not fund Advanced Diplomas or advanced studies after earning your initial degree or diploma. Although rarely, the fund will only consider funding advanced diplomas in specific conditions. So, if you were wondering: “can NSFAS fund you after a diploma” the answer is not as clear-cut as you may have hoped.
Does The NSFAS Fund Postgraduate Diplomas?
Although the NSFAS does not generally fund postgraduate studies or second diplomas, funding will be considered if the qualification is necessary for employment as a professional in Accounting or Education.
If you are wondering if NSFAS Only the postgraduate qualifications below will be considered for funding:
- B Tech: Engineering (Civil/Chemical/Industrial/Electrical/Refractories/Metallurgy, Mechanical, Mechatronics)
- B Tech: Chiropractic
- B Tech: Clinical Technology/Dental Technology
- B Tech – Architecture/Architectural Technology
- B Tech – Biokinetics/Biomedical Technology/Biotechnology
- B Tech: Emergency Medical Care
- B Tech: Homeopathy
- B Tech: Forestry
- B Tech: Nursing (Community Nursing/Nursing Science/ Occupational Nursing/Primary Healthcare)
- Bachelor of Laws/LLB
- Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting
- Postgraduate Certificate in Education
It is exceedingly rare for the NSFAS to fund Masters, Honours, and PhD degrees or postgraduate diplomas. However, students in fields besides those mentioned above may approach the National Research Foundation (NRF) regarding funding.
Which Courses Are Not Funded by NSFAS?
The NSFAS will not consider applications for the following:
- Courses offered by private universities and colleges, such as CTI, MANCOSA and Damelin
- Short courses
- Part-time studies
- Postgraduate studies (further studies after earning an undergraduate degree)
- Second Degrees with specified exceptions, which means if NSFAS funded your first qualification, it will not consider funding a second qualification.
So, if you and your friends have been wondering, “can NSFAS fund you after your diploma?” the answer is, unfortunately, no.
Which Qualifications Are Funded By The NSFAS?
If you’re wondering, “which diplomas does the NSFAS fund?” you’ve come to the right place. The NSFAS covers registration fees, tuition, and some allowances, such as accommodation in residence, transport and personal care.
The fund supports undergraduate qualifications, such as:
- Public University courses
- TVET College courses
- Undergraduate Qualification courses
The NSFAS aims to fund all undergraduate courses with a few exceptions, determined according to funds available in any given year.
The NSFAS is accepting applications for the 2023 academic year until 31 January 2023. To improve service to students, more time will be allowed for submitting the relevant documentation.
This year students can use the new mobile app or WhatsApp to track applications, and work is underway to improve the implementation of the bursary scheme.
Previously Colleges and Universities opened their offices late in January or early February, while the financial year only started in April. Therefore, the National Treasury is also working to align the Post School Education and Training (PSET) calendar with the NSFAS to secure funds when institutions open.
Other Sources for Postgraduate Bursaries (Non-NSFAS)
If you’re considering postgraduate studies but lack funding, Bursaries South Africa, is a useful site to see lists of bursaries and their minimum requirements. For example:
Sasol Bursary for Masters Degrees:
This postgraduate bursary is available for Master’s Degree studies in Cyber Security (MEng/MSc/PhD). The bursary provides a monthly stipend for registration, tuition, accommodation, research, and other study-related expenses. Sasol will also provide technical mentorship to support the student throughout this course.
Mandela Rhodes Foundation Scholarship for Honours Degrees:
This scholarship will fund Honours Students for one to two years in any field of study in South Africa. The bursary provides tuition, registration, study material allowance, personal care, accommodation, and meals. The foundation will also consider special requests for conference grants. This scholarship also expects students to participate in leadership development workshops and, where applicable, the Mentoring Programme.
Unisa Postgraduate Bursary for PhD or Doctoral Studies:
This bursary is open to persons who already hold a Master’s degree in a field of study and wish to pursue a Doctoral qualification in the same discipline in a three-year full-time course. The tuition fees and research funding is capped at R80 000 for the first four years of study for a Doctor’s Degree by research. And R120 000 over the first four years of study for a PhD by experimental research.
National Research Foundation (NRF)
The NRF advocates for South African innovation and research countrywide and internationally. In tandem with the industry, other research facilities, business and global partners, it seeks mutual benefit among the research community for the development of our country.
In addition to a myriad of other essential responsibilities, the NRF makes several NRF Postgraduate Scholarships available, including:
- Extension Support for Masters and Doctoral Studies
- First-time Doctoral Scholarships (Including SARAO Doctoral Scholarships)
- First-time Masters Scholarships (Including SARAO Masters Scholarships) General Application Guide 2022 Final Ver 5.1 –31 March 2023
- Honours Scholarships (Including SARAO Honours Scholarships)
- NRF/Nuffic Doctoral Scholarships (Split-site)
The NSFAS offers an extensive range of loans and bursaries for deserving students. However, thousands of students apply yearly; unfortunately, not everyone will receive a positive response. Also, the NSFAS does not offer postgraduate support. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that your marks are of such a nature that educational institutions and corporations providing bursaries in South Africa will find potential and excellence in your application.
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