The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) provides loans and gives various NSFAS bursaries to students at all 25 of our public universities, as well as the 50 public FET (Further Education Training) colleges. Instead of having to repay the monetary value as with loans, bursars who apply for a NSFAS bursary will enter into a contract to work in a specific sector in South Africa for a specified amount of time after their graduation.
NSFAS has been highly successful in helping to educate the youth; available funding has grown from R441 million in 1999 to a whopping R8.5 billion in 2013.
NSFAS Bursary Requirements for Application
The following basic requirements must be met in order to apply for any of the NSFAS bursaries; applicants must:
- Be South African citizens
- Comply with the entry requirements set by the universities of their choice / have proof of registration or acceptance to said university
Once successfully awarded the bursary, students must pass all courses and complete the qualification within the minimum time frame prescribed by the particular university to avoid the risk of having to repay the bursary amount.
In some cases, bursars may be required to report their particular NSFAS bursary exam results in order to continue to receive funding.
All applications will require certified copies of the following:
- ID document
- Grade 12 results
- Parent/guardian’s ID and employment documents (salary slips/pensions slips if applicable/affidavit if unemployed)
- Proof of university acceptance/registration
NSFAS Bursary Package
Unless otherwise stated, the bursary fund will allow for a portion of, if not all of, the following study-related costs:
- Prescribed books/study material
The amounts prescribed for the above-mentioned costs will be dependent on the outcome of the NSFAS Means Test. This test assesses to what extent the student’s family can contribute – mainly through determining the gross annual family income. Students can qualify for varying amounts up to the maximum of R60 000 per year.
1. Funza Lushaka Bursary
The Funza Lushaka bursary is available to individuals who wish to study to become teachers. Read our detailed article for more information and access to the NSFAS online application.
2. Social Work Scholarship
This bursary is available to students who are currently studying Social Work as well as prospective students who wish to enroll and work towards a Social Work degree. The bursaries are conducted through the Department of Social Development.
The bursary package will also cover funds needed for practicals.
How to Apply
Applications can be found on the DSD website from 1 September every year (or visit your regional Department of Social Development office). This particular NSFAS closing date is 31 October.
Ms Vuyelwa Mngadi; tel: (012) 312 7294 / email: VuyelwaM@dsd.gov.za
Ms Kefiloe Bosman; tel: (012) 312 7223 / email: Kefiloeb@dsd.gov.za
3. Scarce Skills Bursary
This bursary is funded by the National Skills Fund (NSF) with the purpose of supporting the development of scarce skills in South Africa. Scarce skills include fields such as Engineering, Science, Commerce, IT and Medical. The full list of skills/occupations can be found on the Department of Higher Education document, from page 14.
In addition to the basics, this bursary also includes a maximum of R150 for Internet access (paid directly to the university) and a R3 300 cash allowance (paid directly to the bursar’s bank account) for books, study equipment and other expenses as needed.
Those who wish to apply for Engineering, Geology or Science degrees must have achieved a minimum of level 6 for Mathematics and Science. Those who wish to apply for Accounting degrees must have achieved a minimum of level 6 for Mathematics.Mathematics Literacy will not be accepted.
How to Apply
The NSFAS Bursary application form for this particular bursary can be found on the Career Wise website and the closing date is 30 May.
Tel: 0861 007 787
4. NSFAS Bursary for National Certificate (Vocational) and Certain Report 191 Courses at FET Colleges
Vocational and Further Education and Training (FET) courses are those that offer education and training for students who plan to work towards a specific range of jobs or employment possibilities. In some cases, students may qualify for admission to the University of Technology in order to continue their studies at a higher level. In order to qualify for this bursary, candidates must demonstrate that their potential for academic success with a minimum overall average of 50%.
Tel: 0800 87 22 22
5. Bursary for Students with Disabilities
This bursary program, conducted through the Department of Higher Education and Training, is applicable to disabled students who wish to study in all fields, as long as they are accredited higher and further education and training programs. Candidates must also be academically able and financially needy (as determined by the NSFAS Means Test or at the discretion of the Disability Support Unit).
In terms of defining a disability, it is regarded as a long-term impairment (has lasted or is likely to persist for at least 12 months) that is recurring and substantially limiting. For this program, chronic diseases are also included as a disability; these include HIV/AIDS, diabetes, asthma, cancer and tuberculosis (TB).
The NSFAS bursary also covers the costs of an assistive device or human support that the student needs in order to improve their quality of life.
NSFAS Contact Details