How Much Is NSFAS Allowance

By Klenam JU •  Updated: 01/23/24 •  6 min read

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme supports students from economically disadvantaged and less privileged backgrounds with the financial resources necessary to undertake studies at accredited South African tertiary institutions.

Students of universities and technical and vocational education and training institutions in South Africa enjoy various facilities available under NSFAS, from study loans to bursaries.

The worth of these financial facilities can be better understood through an examination of allowances offered within these facilities. As such, this article presents a comprehensive overview of every piece of information related to NSFAS allowance payment.

How much allowance does NSFAS give?

Allowances offered by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme cover a number of things. A full schedule of allowances covered by the NSFAS is presented below:

NSFAS Allowances 2024

Allowance typeAmount (in South African Rand)Annual Amount (in South African Rand)
Living allowance125015,000
Travel allowance6257500
Study Materials4335196
Incidental Allowances2412900
AccommodationApplicable rates vary across institutions. Stellenbosch University, for instance, places a maximum cap of 5970 South African Rand for students utilising private accommodation.

Rates may vary depending on the location and residential status of the student. In terms of accommodation, urban students are guaranteed 24,000 South African Rand annually from NSFAS allowance, with the rate dropping to 18,900 South African Rand and 15,750 South African Rand, respectively, for students in peri-urban and rural locations. Allowances are usually adjusted yearly to reflect inflation.

How much is NSFAS monthly allowance for 2024?

NSFAS monthly allowance covers a number of costs related to study. A breakdown of the monthly rate for eligible costs is given below:

Accommodation Allowance

Accommodation allowances are determined by three factors: the institution, location and residential status of the student. For students who stay in urban, peri-urban and rural communities, the allowance rates are characterised by common differences.

In the case of accommodation, these rates can range from 1312 South African Rand to 2000 South African Rand, respectively. Differences also come to play in line with the rates charged by universities and tertiary institutions. A fair example is visible in the case of Stellenbosch University.

Recipients of NSFAS allowances at this institution who stay in private residences receive 5970 South African Rand for eleven months to make a total of 59700 South African Rand.

Living Allowance

Living allowances are paid at the rate of 1,500 South African Rand monthly. This provision is of recent origin and was introduced to enhance students’ ability to meet personal needs like toiletries.

Travel Allowance

Under this provision, NSFAS supports recipients with funding to cover the cost of moving and transiting between locations. This allowance is paid at the rate of 625 South African Rand monthly.

Study Materials And Incidental Allowance

Apart from these allowances, others exist in the form of study materials (paid at the monthly rate of 433 South African Rand) and incidental allowance (paid at the monthly rate of 241 South African Rand). Cumulatively, the minimum value of allowances received by an NSFAS recipient is around 8,519 South African Rand, all things being equal.

How much does NSFAS pay TVET college students per month?

There is no difference between what NSFAS pays university students, and students enrolled for studies at a technical vocational education training college. In other words, NSFAS pays up to 8,519 South African Rand worth of allowances to students at TVET colleges.

How much does NSFAS pay for accommodation?

As previously stated, the value of allowance NSFAS pays for accommodation is determined by three factors: institution, location and residence. For students who stay in urban, peri-urban and rural communities, the allowance rates are characterised by common differences. In the case of accommodation, these rates can range from 1312 South African Rand to 2000 South African Rand, respectively.

Typically, allowance rates reflect accommodation charges exacted by various institutions. Stellenbosch University students, for instance, receive up to 5,970 South African Rand monthly. Again, rates are set at the maximum limit. In other words, to rehash the University of the Free State, this does not mean that all qualifying students will receive the maximum amount.

The amount payable will be the rental amount as indicated on the lease agreement but not more than the maximum limit.

Do you pay back NSFAS?

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme was designed to support students with disadvantaged and less privileged economic backgrounds. The NSFAS offers numerous funding options and facilities to pursue this goal. Bursaries, which constitute one of the facilities available under the NSFAS, are non-repayable.

These bursaries include the Funza Lushaka Teacher Bursary, Department of Social Development Bursary, DHET Disability Bursary and other bursary awards administered by Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs). The NSFAS also offers study loans in addition.

These loans cover study costs, including tuition fees, registration fees, accommodation, study materials and travel allowances. Unlike bursaries, NSFAS study loans are repayable. According to the NSFAS, recipients of study loan facilities repay such loans at the end of studies or upon securing paid employment, with annual earnings of 30,000 South African Rand.

That said, individuals currently studying or unemployed are excused from making repayments on loans.

NSFAS Frequently Asked Questions

How do I qualify for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)?

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is open to individuals who satisfy the following requirements:

I am Eligible For NSFAS. How Do I Apply?

First-time applications for NSFAS can be submitted online through www.nsfas.org.za or manually to NSFAS Loans and Bursaries Department. Manual applicants can send their applications by mail or return scanned copies of application forms to apply@nsfas.org.za.

Online applicants simply have to register and create a MyNSFAS profile on www.nsfas.org.za. Recipients of NSFAS funding are not required to reapply subsequently for the duration of their students.

In the event that an application for NSFAS funding is rejected, the concerned applicant is at liberty to appeal the decision. 

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