Why NSFAS Does Not Fund International Students

By Klenam JU •  Updated: 02/27/24 •  5 min read

If you must know, the NSFAS is an institution governed by the laws in South Africa; to provide financial support to students who are financially handicapped.

The NSFAS provides bursaries to applicants looking to enter into university or TVET college and meets all the necessary requirements provided by the NSFAS.

There are criteria that one must meet in order to qualify for financial support from the NSFAS. In the past, NSFAS provided support to only South African citizens, but later in parliaments, permanent residents were included in the bursary. 

Why NSFAS does not fund international students

Many may have thought about why NSFAS does not fund international students. What could be the reason and the rationale behind it? This can be a delicate matter, and therefore we will share with you a few reasons why NSFAS does not fund international students. 

One thing you need to understand is that the introduction of NSFAS came in to support students who have passed their high school exams but can not afford tertiary. This was the beginning of NSFAS. Also, this became a policy that was passed in the South African parliament to ensure its implementation, planning, and execution. A policy meant to support only South African students who also qualify for the NSFAS criteria.

If you must know, the NSFAS funds allocated to students are not free; you sign an agreement that commits you to pay back. And the allowance allocation has its purposes, and that’s what NSFAS advises students. 

As a citizen of South Africa, you are obliged to pay taxes. In other cases, you are required to bring in your quota to support the development of the country and thus pay your taxes. Taxes are used to build a nation and to support the citizens who are deemed to contribute to the productivity and development of the country.

Citizens are supposed to benefit from the taxes, which is why a little amount of the tax goes into the execution of the NSFAS plan. It is important that the citizens of South Africa must benefits essentially from these taxes paid.

A policy that is backed by law to support South African students. This may be one of the ultimate reasons why NSFAS does not fund international reasons. The implementation of this policy does not include international students. Although universities in South Africa enroll thousands of foreigners, they were omitted from this policy.

The government seeks to promote education in the lives of South Africans and ensure education is well improved in the country. And to say this is one of the main reasons why NSFAS does not support international students when it comes to funds or allowances. 

Is NSFAS only for South Africans?

The national student financial aid scheme has provided financial aid to students looking to enroll in tertiary education. The focus is to reduce the financial burden on students and promote education in South Africa. The NSFAS, as an institution on its own, also receives funds to execute its work. 

And it is essential to know that NSFAS is only for South African citizens. However, there are other criteria that the South African citizen must qualify for to receive funds from NSFAS. 

Does NSFAS fund international students?

Often, international students looking to enroll in a South African university may seek to understand how NSFAS works.

This is related to the point where they may seek help from NSFAS. If you are an international student looking to study in South Africa at the tertiary level, you should know that NSFAS will not fund you.

This has been passed and stated in their policies. International students may seek other options, such as scholarships or other subsidies, but these come with terms and conditions. 

Can a foreigner get a bursary in South Africa?

Bursaries are provided as grants to enable students to study at tertiary. As a foreigner looking to study in South Africa, you may seek a bursary to further your education.

Getting a bursary takes time, and due diligence must be done in order to receive the funds accordingly. Certain steps must be followed to qualify the individual to get a bursary in South Africa.

To further say, a foreigner can get a bursary in South Africa. The law permits, and there are many bursaries that foreigners can receive support from. 

Can foreigners with a SA ID apply for NSFAS

Having an identification number or card does not guarantee you as a citizen of South Africa. South African law does not allow foreigners with ID to apply for NSFAS. NSFAS applications are limited to South African citizens.

The criteria for one must apply for NSFAs does not include a foreigner with a South African ID. The ID may serve many purposes but does not guarantee your NSFAS application.

The NSFAs requirements are such that it protects citizens and avoids imposters. A foreigner with a South African ID can not apply for NSFAS. You being a foreigner alone disqualifies you, and therefore you are not eligible to put in an application for funds from NSFAS.

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