How to Appeal for NSFAS?

If NSFAS has rejected your funding application, you might want to appeal. But how to appeal for NSFAS? This article gives you all the information you need about how to do this successfully.

Why Has NSFAS Rejected My Application? 

NSFAS checks on your eligibility – and that is what leads to delays, hold-ups, and sometimes rejection of your application.

The check starts with your documents. Have you submitted all the documents required? Have they been completed in full? Have they been signed and certified correctly? Are you a South African citizen? Do you meet the household financial limits?

Then NSFAS uses outside agencies to check that what you have said is correct. Finally, they need to know from the educational institution whether there is space for you,  whether you have met the academic requirements either for new admission or continuing studies, and whether you have registered.

The last step before payments can start is that you must sign an NSFAS bursary agreement.

If you meet all the requirements, you will get a grant. However, NSFAS can refuse your application if you do not meet even one of these requirements. 

When Should You Appeal A NSFAS Rejection?

 NSFAS has denied your application. This rejection can happen at any point along the evaluation process. 

It could be because your household income is above the threshold, as in the example. Or you have applied for a course that does not qualify. Alternatively, you were funded for an earlier qualification, and you cannot apply again. Or you haven’t been admitted to a university or TVET College. 

What must you do?  There’s nothing you can do if any of the above scenarios is correct. Please don’t appeal if you have not met the requirements. However, if you believe that there is something that NSFAS has not taken into consideration, your circumstances have changed, or you think they have made a mistake, then you can appeal. 

How Do I Appeal If My NSFAS Application Is Unsuccessful?

New or first-time applicants should submit their appeals through the myNSFAS website. Continuing students submit their appeals through the Financial Aid or Student Support offices at the institutions where they are registered. Alternatively, students can submit appeals and documentation directly to

How to appeal if you are a first time entering student

  1. Log into your MyNSFAS account:
  2. Click on Track Application Progress
  3. Check the application progress tabs
  4. If your application status reflects that it is unsuccessful, then click on Submit Appeal 
  5. On the Application Appeal page, you’ll be able to see the reason for the rejection
  6. Write a motivational letter stating the reasons why you are appealing your application status
    • The letter must not exceed 1000 characters (words including spaces).
    • Supporting documents must be in PDF, JPEG, or PNG (no Word docs), and a document size cannot be more than 5 megabytes.
  1. Click Submit Appeal.
  2. You will be able to track the progress of your appeal via your MyNSFAS account.

How to appeal if you are a continuing student or senior student

Continuing students should submit their appeals to the Financial Aid or Student Support Office at the University or College where they are registered. Each institution has an appeals committee that will consider the appeal and make recommendations to NSFAS. Check for closing dates and specific requirements at your institution. 

You should complete the official NSFAS Appeals Form, which you can download from the myNSFAS site or your institution’s website. Make sure that the form is filled in completely and that you attach supporting documents for your appeal. Where copies are submitted, they should be certified. Affidavits are not considered sufficient documentation. You should also attach a detailed motivation letter setting out the circumstances of your appeal.

Who Qualifies for an NSFAS Appeal? 

The following appeals will be considered:

  1. Failure to meet academic performance requirements

Where prior academic performance has been satisfactory, NSFAS will consider reasons for poor performance such as illness, death, or other trauma in the immediate family. Substantive documents to prove these situations are required.

  1. Change in financial circumstances

If there has been a material change in combined household income that brings you within the funding limits (less than R122,000 for students registered before 2018 and below R350,000 for those registered since 2018), then you can appeal. Documents to support the appeal can be any  of the following:

  • UIF
  • Retrenchment letter
  • Dismissal letter

If there has been a change of job with a reduction in income, then official payslips for the past three months must be attached.

If you have not had NSFAS funding before, then you must also complete all application documentation.

  1. Loss of bursary support

If you were previously sponsored but have lost that support, you will need to submit proof of the loss on official letterheads. You will also have to complete the full NSFAS application form and supply all the required documentation for that.

  1. Incorrect academic results submitted 

If you believe that NSFAS has received the wrong results, attach an official academic transcript to your appeal form and letter.

  1. Completion of a GAP year to improve academic performance

You may have taken a GAP year from NSFAS funding because of poor academic performance but now meet the required academic criteria. You will need to attach your complete academic record and a motivation letter for reconsideration of funding.

  1. Applying for an approved postgraduate qualification

Specific postgraduate courses will be considered for funding. The complete list is usually provided in Section F of the NSFAS Appeal Form.

How Do You Write An NSFAS Appeal Letter?

All appeals must also include a motivational letter. The simpler and clearer this letter is, the better your chances that NSFAS will consider your situation. Also remember that the letter must not exceed 1000 characters (words including spaces).

Here is an example of how you might structure this letter.

  1. Start with the basics
  • Personal details: This includes your full names, ID number, email and cell phone, home address
  • Institution details: University or College name, student number, course of study, year of study
  • NSFAS details: Year you are applying for, date of application and reference number received from NSFAS (if you are a new applicant) or history of previous funding (if you are a continuing student), date of rejection, and the reason given for refusal.
  1. Explain your situation
  • Describe the problems you experienced and how they affected your ability to secure NSFAS funding
  • Illness, death in the family, parent or guardian’s loss of job, disruptions to power/internet connectivity that affected your ability to upload documents or complete your NSFAS application
  • Attach documents to prove your descriptions
  • Illness – attach a medical report/doctor’s letter
  • Death in the family – attach the death certificate
  • Change in the household financial situation – attach UIF, dismissal or retrenchment letters, payslips
  • Academics – attach transcript of previous and latest results
  1. Describe steps you have taken to mitigate the situation
  • Emails, Facebook or Twitter messages, attempts to reach contact center, visits to institution’s financial aid office, etc
  1. Reasons why your appeal should be considered
  • Academic – previous results were acceptable, latest results were affected by illness, death, etc
  • Lack of documentation – financial and technical reasons for not being able to submit in time
  • Financial – previous and current financial position

If you structure your letter clearly and proofread it to make sure there are no spelling and grammatical errors, you make it easier for the person at NSFAS to deal with your appeal.

How long do NSFAS Appeals Take?

NSFAS should respond within 30 days unless there is insufficient information. 

Remember: If you are waiting for NSFAS approval, you do not have to pay the registration fee. If you have been declined by NSFAS and have lodged an appeal, you will have to pay the registration fee – this will be refunded if your appeal is successful.

 What documents are needed for NSFAS Appeals?

All appeals must include the completed Appeal Form and a motivation letter. Other documents to be submitted depend on the circumstances of your appeal. Examples were given earlier. 

NSFAS will also tell you what documents to submit. In the example provided, the application was rejected because of a change in parental details. The required documents and affidavits are clearly listed.

Many students waste energy on Twitter and Facebook complaining about their rejection by NSFAS. If they stop to consider the reasons for the NSFAS decision and take the practical and straightforward steps to submit appeals, they might have better success at resolving the problems and getting on with their studies.