No matter how carefully you plan your academic journey as a student, sometimes you will need to make course or institution changes to meet your educational goals. If you are being funded by the NSFAS, the good news is that you can do this without impacting your funding, as long as you remain within their other criteria, such as eligibility and academic performance. Here’s what you need to know.
How to Change Institution on an NSFAS Application
NSFAS will allow you one institution change, but it must be in the first two years of you being funded by them. The same goes for course changes. This is to ensure that you can access funding for the duration of the program, on the N+1 rule (which we explain in more detail below).
NSFAS will take the opportunity to re-evaluate that you still qualify for your NSFAS funding when you change institutions, so be aware of this. As long as you remain within their funding criteria, it should not be an issue. Once you are registered at the new institution, they will need to send this data through to the NSFAS so that you continue to receive your monthly allowance. Failure to do so will cause issues with receiving your bursary money.
As long as you continue to meet all benchmarks for remaining funded- by passing your courses and staying registered at a qualified institution- you will continue to be funded by the NSFAS. While you can change institutions with NSFAS, you cannot be registered at two institutions simultaneously and be funded for both.
Do I Have to Reapply for NSFAS if I Change Institutions?
You don’t have to reapply, exactly, but you will need to ensure that your new institution submits your registration details to the NSFAS on time. Otherwise, there is a risk NSFAS will fund your old institution, at which point you have little recourse to act. You must also have met all academic performance requirements at the old university when you transfer to your new one- but you will need to do this anyway to register at the new institution. Remember that you must pass 50% of your modules to stay funded by NSFAS.
You will only have to reapply for NSFAS from scratch if you have had an application rejected by them.
Can I Change Universities with NSFAS?
Yes, you can change universities with NSFAS, provided you are moving to an eligible institution. NSFAS offers funding for registered public Universities and TVET institutions in South Africa.
Remember that the new NSFAS system works on the N+1 rule, where the N is the number of years your qualification should take to complete. This means you have one year beyond that- so you have 4 years of potential NSFAS funding to complete a 3-year degree, for example.
So your NSFAS funding hinges on the duration you have been registered for at a higher education institution, and it is not institution-specific. This timer does not reset when you change institutions- it will apply to your study time overall, not where you study.
NSFAS will not, however, chase down your registration data at the new institution for you. If you fail to update them, they will fund your old university program, and you likely will not be able to get this transferred to the new one. You need to be diligent and ensure they receive your new registration data from the new institution.
How do I Edit my NSFAS Application?
You can edit your NSFAS application via your login on the myNSFAS portal. Simply enter your username and password, and sign in. Here you can edit certain aspects of your NSFAS application. Remember that some edits- like a change in course or institution- will need to be confirmed by the institution itself, so it helps to be proactive on this matter and ensure they submit to NSFAS timeously.
What Happens to NSFAS When you Change Courses?
Changing courses will not impact your NSFAS funding at all. All you need to do is notify the NSFAS that you have changed courses, and it must still be an applicable course for funding, and you must be within the N+1 rule we explain above. If your allotted time to finish the course will expire partway through your new program, you may need to find other funding for the last stages of your course. Remember that NSFAS funding does not ‘reset’ if you change course (or institutions), but applies to the entirety of your tertiary academic journey. So bear this in mind when deciding to change courses.
Changing courses or institutions can be done as an NSFAS-funded student. However, remember that it will cause administration hiccoughs along the way, so make sure you and your institution both submit all required details about the change to them as soon as possible.
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