27th February 2024 6:29 pm
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NSFAS extends application deadline beyond January

  • NSFAS has now extended its application deadline from 31st January to 15th February.
  • The decision came after a meeting between NSFAS board of directors and the South African Student Union (SAUS).
  • The comprehensive student funding model loan scheme is also opening from 2nd February to 15th February, for students that missed out on NSFAS bursaries.

Usually set for 31st January, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has extended its deadline for students to submit applications to receive funding for their tertiary education. The deadline is now 15th February after a meeting between the NSFAS board and the South African Union of Students (SAUS).

According to an announcement from NSFAS, the decision was made during a discussion between acting NSFAS chair Prof Laurens van Staden and Yandisa Ndzoyiya, president of SAUS. Previous chair Ernest Khosa had taken a leave of absence last year to deal with corruption allegations made against him by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA).

Another decision taken during the meeting to gauge the scheme’s readiness ahead of the academic year is the opening of the NSFAS loan scheme on 2nd February and closing on 15th February. This loan scheme is the first phase of the in-development comprehensive student funding model that seeks to help those students who are not covered by NSFAS bursary funding or other funding, like a company bursary or scholarship.

In January, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande revealed that government had cleared R3.8 billion to grant funding to students through the comprehensive model. At that time, Nzimande said that the scheme would only be operational in the 2024/2025 period. This may have been fast-tracked.

NSFAS continues that students who have already applied to NSFAS should not also apply for the comprehensive funding model. However, if you did apply for NSFAS and did not meet the funding criteria, you can still apply for a NSFAS loan through the new model. However, it is a loan with the expectation that the funds will be paid back to the government.

If you do want to apply for a loan, you must follow a similar procedure as if you were applying for NSFAS. That means you need to create a profile on the official NSFAS website, then apply, and then submit your application form.

There are also criteria to consider when applying for a loan, but they are less strict than NSFAS requirements. These include:

  • Your annual household income must be between R350 000 and R600 000,
  • You must be a student at a public university of TVET college,
  • You must be a postgraduate or undergraduate student,
  • 70 percent of loans will be given to students in the science, mathematics, engineering and technology (STEM) fields,
  • 30 percent will be given to students in social sciences programmes, and
  • You must be willing to sign a loan agreement.

NSFAS says it has to date received 1.75 million applications, of which it has funded over 940 thousand, provisionally. At least 270 thousand are now being evaluated for funding. So far 102 201 applications have been rejected, with 1 093 students launching appeals.

Luis Monzon

Luis Monzon

Journalist. Covering education, AAA gaming and consumer tech. Reach me at Luis@htxt.co.za.

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