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National Student Financial Aid Scheme


When you think of your future, do you see yourself happy and successful? Or do you wonder how you'll ever manage to make ends meet?

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) aims to help financially needy yet academically capable students realise their career dreams. NSFAS offers loans and bursaries to underprivileged South African students with the potential to succeed at university or a Further Education and Training (FET) College.

Bursaries are available for specific fields such as teaching, actuarial science, accounting, engineering, IT and social work. Or you could qualify for a loan which has a very low interest rate and is only repayable once you start working. As a bonus, part of the loan will not be repayable if you do well in your studies.

If you are from a poor background, are academically capable and you meet the criteria, financial aid could cover all or some of your tuition and registration costs, accommodation and books. Funding is not guaranteed - applications are subject to conditions and available funding.

  • You come from a financially needy or disadvantaged family with little or no funds to pay for your further education;
  • You want to complete your first undergraduate degree at university or a National Certificate Vocational programme at a FET College;
  • You have applied to one of the 23 public universities or 50 public FET Colleges in South Africa;
  • You are a South African citizen with a valid bar-coded Identity Document – you will need certified copies of your ID when applying for NSFAS funds;
  • You can provide proof of your family’s income as your family’s financial situation will be assessed to determine your need;
  • Have academic potential;
  • You can provide certified copies of your siblings’ IDs / birth certificates if they are at university, college or school;
  • You have the determination to succeed at tertiary level.

  • How to Apply:

    • Apply for acceptance into a course of study at a public university or public FET College.
    • Apply for financial aid at the university’s Financial Aid Office or the Student Support Centre at an FET College. This is done once you have been accepted for study at the institution.
    • For the Funza Lushaka teaching bursary, apply online at
    • For a bursary to study social work, apply via an office of the Department of Social Development.
    • All queries regarding the progress of your application should be directed to the institution where you applied, not to NSFAS.

    For more information on NSFAS loans and bursaries SMS your questions to 32261 (Standard SMS rates apply), email or call 021 763 3232.

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