How to Apply for NSFAS Funding in 2022

Current and prospective students looking to secure funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in 2022 will be able to apply from 2 November 2021.

Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Technology spoke to the media on 28 October 2020 regarding the NSFAS 2022 application window regarding:

  • When and who can apply for NSFAS funding in 2022
  • NSFAS achievements over the last academic year
  • Who would qualify for NSFAS funding
  • How current and prospective students can apply for NSFAS funding in 2022
  • The ministerial task team assigned to look at student funding policy issues in the near future

Because of the current economic climate as well as the impact that coronavirus has played over the past two year, there is a higher demand for student funding than usual.

The Minister’s department has thus devised a programme to determine which students in particular have the potential to secure funding, including:

  • First-Time Entering Student (FTEN) who are SASSA beneficiaries (Cohort 1)
  • Returning students who are SASSA beneficiaries (Cohort 2)
  • FTEN students who are not SASSA beneficiaries (Cohort 3)
  • Returning students who are not SASSA beneficiaries (Cohort 4)
  • Students living with disabilities (Cohort 5)

The news will come as a relief to SASSA beneficiaries who were worried over whether they will receive NSFAS funding in 2022 if they already receive support from the government.

NSFAS achievements over the past year

One of the key points from Minister Nzimande was the list of achievements the institution achieved from 2018 to 2021. This includes:

  • NSFAS funding for university and TVET college students increased by 107% from R20bn (2018) to R42bn (2021)
  • 751 858 students (489 912 university students and 261 404 TVET students) received funding from the DHET Bursary Grant in the 2020 academic year
  • The number of university students receiving bursaries (including from other governmental departments) such as Funza Lushaka, the National Skills Fund and SETAs increased by 45.4% from 346 966 (2018) to 504 366 (2021)
  • 61.5% of all NSFAS beneficiaries in 2021 were female students, which is reflective of the overall representation of female students in public universities
  • There has been an increase in female students who received NSFAS bursaries in 2020, from 360 344 (2018) to 470 696 (2021)

However, one failing that stood out in particular was a decrease of 26% in relation to funding students with disabilities. In 2020, the institution funded 1421 university students with disabilities compared to 1921 students in 2019.

Therefore the NSFAS/DHET Disability Fund is available for disabled students who lack the financial support but are academically stable. Students with disabilities would qualify if they fall within the R600 000 maximum threshold when it comes to gross family income p.a

The bursary would also cover providing students with assistive devices (wheelchairs and hearing aids) and human support (aids such as tutors, scribes, sign language interpreters), capped at an amount reviewed by NSFAS annually.

NSFAS Applications Open from 2 November…

The NSFAS online application system will open from 2 November until 7 January 2022, when the National Senior Certificate results are released. This is a huge change to the application system as it was previously open annually from September to the end of November.

This may come as a blessing in disguise to students who sometimes do not get enough time to apply for NSFAS funding, with the institution more often than not caving in to extend the application window by a few weeks.

The later application window will provide students more time to submit missing supporting documents if deemed necessary. At the same time, Minister Nzimande assured students and the public that the later application window will not disadvantage students who seek support from the institution for their tertiary studies.

Furthermore, Minister Nzimande stated that with the new application system in place, it would not stand to reason that students would receive almost immediate results on their NSFAS applications, with a leeway of 48 hours after applying.

While this sounds good in theory, only time will tell whether the new system will actually work as planned.

Who qualifies for NSFAS funding?

At the moment, all students who are planning to register and study in the 2022 academic year have to meet the following requirements or fall within the following categories:

  • Students have to be a South African citizen or permanent resident
  • Students who live in a household whose annual income does not exceed R350 000
  • Disabled students who live in a household whose annual income does not exceed R600 000
  • SASSA grant recipients (this excludes the SASSA Covid-19 grant)

Potential applicants will have to prepare and provide the following documentation in order to apply for NSFAS funding in 2022:

  • Copy of your ID (temporary IDs issued by the Department of Home Affairs will also be accepted)
  • Non-SASSA applicants have to provide ID copies of their parent(s), legal guardian(s) or spouse
  • Copy of your Smart ID card, scanned on both sides
  • Proof of income from applicant and/or parent(s), legal guardian(s) or spouse (non-SASSA) with a payslip not older than 3 months; UIF letter, appointment letter, retrenchment letter (applicant and/or parent(s), legal guardian or spouse)

Affidavits will NOT be accepted as proof for NSFAS funding.

Where to apply for NSFAS funding?

There are currently two main avenues when it comes to applying for a NSFAS bursary – online or via the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA)/Thusong Centre.

The easiest and simplest option would be to apply online via the NSFAS website, using the following five (5!) steps:

  1. Head to the NSFAS website and tap on the myNSFAS tab
  2. Create a myNSFAS account for yourself
  3. Tap on the ‘Apply’ button and complete the sections on the screen
  4. Upload all the necessary required supporting documents when stated
  5. Tap on ‘Submit’ – and you’re done. Easy as pie.

If you do not have access to any online facilities and like to apply in person, you can visit your nearest NYDA offices or Thusong Centre and go through the same process.

Find a list of your nearest NYDA offices or Thusong Centre here or here. Students are also urged to apply to study at their respective chosen public tertiary institutions in order to receive funding from NSFAS (approved programmes, of course).

For more information on how to apply to NSFAS funding in 2022, you can reach out to the instution via the following online platforms:

Additionally, students can also contact NSFAS’s Fraud Hotline if they suspect that their account has been compromised. Prospective NSFAS students can contact the Fraud Hotline via:

Published: 29 October 2021

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