NSFAS (www.nsfas.org.za
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What is a Nsfas loan ?
Students from needy families can get a loan from Nsfas (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) to study at Universities and TVET colleges. Up to 40 % of the loan can be converted in a bursary, depending on your results. The interest rate is low (rate of inflation + 2 %). Note that Nsfas funding for TVET college does not need to be repaid : it is a 100 % bursary.

In 2017, students got a loan only if their family income was less than R 10 000 month (the income of all the persons living in the same household as the applicant are taken into account, including pension and social grants).

The NSFAS loan covers your registration and tuition fees, books and sometimes accommodation on and off campus (see page : how to find accomodation). You must not pay upfront any amount, even the registration fee at most Universities ! You will only start to repay your loan after graduating, once your starting working.


You must apply before November 30 of the previous year of studies but it is also possible to apply in January (in 2017, from Jan 9 to 20 for Universities and Jan 9 to February 14 for TVET colleges).

You can apply for the loan, as soon as you have received a student number (you don’t need to wait for the result of your application). Even if you have not been admitted with your Grade 11 results, you must apply for Nsfas, as you might be admitted in January with your Matric results.

You MUST apply online and only once for all Universities or TVET colleges. 

Before applying, you need those documents - certified copies (at the police station). Income slips cannot be older than 3 months !

·         Your South African identity document/card or, an unabridged birth certificate
·         IDs of parents and/or guardian (or death certificate where applicable)
·         IDs of each person living with you in your home
·         Pay advice/letter of employment/pension advice (not older than three months)
·         consent from to fill it in with your parent/gaurdian's (to download from website). it must be signed by all people whose incomes have been declared in the application.

Then you need to register on Nsfas website, do your online application (only 2 pages) and upload the documents - Go to an internet café or a Postnet  and ask for help !

How will I know if my loan  has been approved ?

 You should  get a sms or email from Nsfas in January once your admission at University has been approved
You can  check on Nsfas website (or UJ website – click on Study at UJ /Apply:check your status/check your Nsfas status) or call Nsfas directly.
If your loan has not been approved (because your family income is too high or because some documents are missing), you can launch an appeal - click on this link http://nsfas.org.za/content/appeal.html
Once your loan has been approved, you need to sign online a contract with Nsfas. 
If you have received a partial bursary  (for instance which covers only your student fee), Nsfas can cover other expenses (e.g. –accommodation).

Will I get a Nsfas loan every year ?

You don't need to reapply every year.
If you pass at least a 80% of your subjects, your Nsfas loan will be automatically prolonged. If you fail, you can still reapply but you will not get Nsfas for more than 5 years, in total

It is not always possible to get a Nsfas loan for the 4th year of studies after a diploma, called Btech (eg. engineering Btech)
If after your first year, you want to start again other studies, you can reapply for a Nsfas loan, as long as you have pass at least 80 % of your subjects.

When will I need to pay back my loan ?

Only when you start to work.

Up to 40 % of the loan may be converted to a bursary, depending on the University you attend.  

For your last year of study, your loan will convert the full cost of study and your living expenses. It will be converted in a full bursary  if you graduate.