How Will NSFAS Allowances Be Paid?

By Trev Gami •  Updated: 03/24/24 •  5 min read

Starting college or university can be a daunting experience since you need to obtain funding for your studies, accommodation, food, and books. Your situation becomes dire, especially if you come from a low-income family. However, the good news is that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) can come to your rescue. This is a South African government-run bursary scheme that can help you start your higher education journey comfortably. It provides tuition, accommodation, books, travel, and living allowances. This article explains everything you need to know about how NSFAS allowances

are paid. 

How Will NSFAS Allowances Be Paid?

NSFAS pays student allowances to beneficiaries every month. The academic cycle consists of 10 months, which means the students will be paid each month. NSFAS allowances are paid in cash, and the students can get them directly from the institution or via their NSFAS Wallet. 

NSFAS allowances are paid during the first week of each month for 10 months. However, allowances are not paid simultaneously to each beneficiary. Don’t freak out if your friend receives their money earlier than you.

The following are the cycle dates for the payments of NSFAS allowances in 2024 

First Semester 

Cycle 1: Monday, 28 February 2024- All Campuses

Cycle 2: Monday, 7 March 2024- All Campuses

Cycle 3: Monday, 4 April 2024- All Campuses

Cycle 4: Monday, 3 May 2024- All Campuses

Cycle 5: Monday 6 June 2024- All Campuses

Second Semester

Cycle 6: Monday, 18 July 2024- All Campuses

Cycle 7: Monday, 1 August 2024- All Campuses

Cycle 8: Monday, 5 September 2024- All Campuses

Cycle 9: Monday, 3 October 2024- All Campuses

Cycle 10: Monday, 7 November 2024- All Campuses

NSFAS allowances cover accommodation, tuition, transport, books, and personal care. Accommodation is paid differently from other allowances. All landlords accredited with NSFAS are paid directly, so the student does not need to withdraw cash to pay rent. You can visit your TVET or university website to check if the accommodation is accredited. All institutions provide details about NSFAS-accredited accommodation around campus.

Students can withdraw other allowances from their learning institutions. NSFAS allocates funds to all TVET colleges and universities annually, which will then distribute to the beneficiaries eligible to get funding. Universities use different payment options to disburse the funds to students, such as student bank accounts or payment administrators like intellimali.  

If you study at a TVET college, you can open an NSFAS wallet which allows you to withdraw cash, or you can spend the money at merchants that are registered with NSFAS. To register for the NSFAS wallet, you must have a valid SIM card and mobile phone. You can withdraw your money from merchants like Checkers, U-Save, Boxer, and a few selected Spar stores. These merchants offer a cash withdrawal limit of between R200 and R1000 daily. 

How Much Does NSFAS Pay Each Student per Month?

The allowances paid to TVET college and university students slightly differ, depending on the program one is undertaking. The institution you attend also determines your allowance since the registration fees differ across the board. 

Travel allowances can also be influenced by the distance one travels from their accommodation to campus. The location of accommodation also determines the rent you will pay every month. The following are the NSFAS allowance schedules for TVET colleges and public universities. 

TVET College Allowances

University Allowances

At the moment, NSFAS is not increasing allowances for 2024. They are the same as in 2022.

How Much Is NSFAS Daily Limit?

If you use the NSFAS wallet to withdraw cash from the registered merchants, the daily limits range from R200 to R1000. If you want to spend money at the store, you can use the maximum value in your cash wallet. The NSFAS registered merchants, in consultation with the institutions, determine the daily limit that each student can withdraw.

When you open your NSFAS wallet, make sure you use your registered cellphone number. It is the same number you will use when you perform any transaction. If you want to change your number, make sure you also update your NSFAS account to avoid inconveniences. 

How Much Is NSFAS First Payment?

The first payments offered by NSFAS to TVET college students and university students differ depending on the institution. The money for each allowance is spread over 10 months, so you must know how much you get per year and divide by 10. For instance, university students will get the following allowances on their first payment. 

Therefore, the total payment for the first month is R7 740. However, these figures are different.

When your NSFAS application for funding is approved, you are entitled to get different allowances to cover aspects like accommodation, tuition, travel, book, incidental, and living expenses. NSFAS pays the money directly to the institution, which then allocates the funds to each qualified student. Students can withdraw cash or use their NSFAS wallets to purchase from registered merchants, where they can also get cash.   

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