We tried our best to answer some of the most frequently asked questions students, and applicants ask about NSFAS. We recommend joining the “NSFAS Updates” Facebook group to find more answers about NSFAS and speak to students who have already gone through the NSFAS process. If you have any other questions or would like to help us improve our answers, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions about the NSFAS application process:
How do you apply to NSFAS? And what documents do you need?
We broke down the steps for you, please read our article on how to apply to NSFAS
How much money can you apply for?
You cannot request how much money you would like to borrow. The amount depends on your specific need, the cost of your studies and what your family can pay towards your studies. Your loan amount is determined by the NSFAS Means Test. Full funding is paid for students who qualify and pass the NSFAS Means Test with an expected family contribution of R0 or less.
How long does it take to get a NSFAS loan?
Once you have submitted your application, you will have to wait to hear the outcome. Some people wait a few weeks others have waited 6 months. To understand why this can take so long, please read our article on how NSFAS works.
What are the NSFAS academic requirements?
NSFAS does not have academic requirements. You have to be accepted into university or college to get funded by NSFAS, so it is those requirements you have to meet. If your marks are good enough for the university or college, your marks are good enough for NSFAS.
What does NSFAS fund? What can you study?
NSFAS will fund your first undergraduate qualification. Loans are granted for undergraduate degrees and diplomas and the following postgraduate qualifications: B Tech – Architecture/Architectural Technology; B Tech – Biokinetics/Biomedical Technology/Biotechnology; Postgraduate Certificate in Education; Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting; and LLB. NSFAS loans are NOT granted for all other BTechs, Honours, Masters or PhDs. Some short courses and certificates might also be excluded.
What happens if you are declined for a NSFAS loan?
You can appeal the NSFAS decision if you are not approved for the loan. Common reasons for not qualifying are:
- family income is too high,
- incomplete application submitted,
- application submitted very late, and/or there is no NSFAS funding available
- you have received other funding from a bursary, scholarship or loan.
- you have already graduated from a first undergraduate degree or diploma (regardless of whether or not this was funded by NSFAS.
Do you need to apply to NSFAS every year?
You do not have to reapply every year to NSFAS, if you have passed all your courses, you are likely to receive money the following year. Your results should be received before registration. You should contact your university or colleges before registration.
The systems say your ID number already exists:
Call the NSFAS call centre 0860 067 327 or go to your nearest NYDA Youth Centre to sort out the problem.
Questions about NSFAS loans:
How is a NSFAS loan different to other loans?
Due to low-interest loans, NSFAS is the most affordable loan provider to South African students. Unlike banks, NSFAS gives loans to students without the need for guarantees or sureties from parents or guardians.
How is the NSFAS student loan paid out?
NSFAS will pay the university or college directly. Money for food, transport, books and allowances will be paid through the sBux system to you.
What is covered by your NSFAS loan?
Depending on the loan amount, it could cover your tuition fees, residence or private accommodation costs, food, books and travel costs. Full funding is not guaranteed. For example, students often do not receive a transport allowance. It will all depend on how much funding is in the pool for the year.
Is registration fees covered?
Yes BUT not for everyone and even if you are eligible to get money from NSFAS to pay your registration, the money is often received too late, and you will have to pay it yourself. See your Financial Aid office to see if they can assist you, do not wait for NSFAS and miss the deadline.
How is part of a NSFAS loan converted into a bursary that does not have to be repaid?
Up to 40% of your student loan may be converted into a bursary that does not have to be repaid but that depends on your year-end results. NSFAS checks these results with the university at the end of every year. Please read our article about NSFAS bursaries for more information.
How do you sign your LAF or SOP?
An LAF is your loan agreement and SOP your bursary agreement. We have an article that explains the process step-by-step. You can read it here.
What happens if you don’t sign your LAF or SOP?
By applying to NSFAS, you agree to their terms. If your application for financial aid is approved, the loan or bursary agreement must be signed within 30 days after registration or NSFAS reserves the right to withdraw the approved loan or bursary. You will then be liable for all fees at the university or college.
Questions about your NSFAS application status:
What does conditionally or provisionally approved mean?
Your funding has been approved, but releasing the money is dependant on you registering at a university or college.
What does awaiting funding mean?
This status means that the course or programme you have applied to, at that specific university, no longer has funding available. That does not mean you will not receive the money! NSFAS receives money from different government departments. Most governmental departments’ financial year runs from April every year and funding might still be released later in the year. It is important to remember that the NSFAS fund runs out of money as applications are received, allocated and approved. However, some students will change their courses, go study at a different university or drop-out, so funding might become available again after the bulk of registrations are completed.
Questions about NSFAS repayments:
How do NSFAS repayments work?
The monthly repayment amount is based on your salary and starts once your salary is R30 000 or more per year. Read more about NSFAS repayments here.
What happens to any money left over from your NSFAS student loan?
Money left over from an NSFAS study loan is never paid out to you. The money is deducted from the balance you owe. You will not have to pay interest on it, and NSFAS will have more funds to help other students like you. Funds paid back to NSFAS are used as your first repayment of your student loan.
What happens if you changed your phone number?
You will need to send NSFAS an affidavit with your new contact details and old ones and reason for changing your number. Submit that with a certified copy of your ID. You can send your documents to email@example.com
What happens if you fail a few courses or modules?
As long as you are still allowed to continue your studies at the college or university, NSFAS will continue to fund you. Your loan amount will increase meaning you will owe NSFAS more money at the end of your studies. Failing a few courses or modules happens to a lot of students especially in their first and final years. See your academic supervisor the get the support you need.
How do you activate my sBux account?
The sBux system is how NSFAS will pay your allowances for food, books, accommodation and travel. Please read our article on everything you need to know about the sBux system here.