The problem with the new NSFAS System (sBux)

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The New NSFAS System (sBux)

This new NSFAS system, called sBux, allows students to pay for food, accommodation, books and travel allowances using their cellphones. NSFAS says this system works on all cellphones.

new NSFAS system called sbux

This is an innovative idea from NSFAS capitalising on the fact that most students have access to a cellphone these days.

NSFAS has caused students a lot of disappointment by switching sBux earlier this year; however it is not all bad.

Orapeleng Phale, commented on Facebook

“I’m happy with it because I find online application convenient and reliable, you are sure that your application is received immediately”

He followed the simple process of:

  1. Visiting the NSFAS website
  2. Followed the step by step application process online
  3. Received an email and sms that his application was received
  4. And that he should submit outstanding documents:
    1. ID
    2. Bank statement
    3. Pay slip
    4. He then scanned these documents and sent them via email to NSFAS

Steven Lombaard, a UNISA student, said

“in January NSFAS still accepted applications to accommodate new students. During the allocations of funds most of those who were first notified was those who only applied in January. In my opinion returning students should have been the main target then first time applicants”

Much of the disappointment seems to stem from NSFAS not communicating with students, UNISA and their respective staff members. Students complain that staff members at UNISA and NSFAS call centre staff have no clue about resolving the new system’s issues.

Another point Steven made relating to the communication problems is that the funds he received from NSFAS for his book allowance does not correspond with the amount he needs for his UNISA textbooks.

NSFAS says “sBux can be used for transport, meals, accommodation and books but UNISA students will only receive book vouchers.” The confusion sets in where UNISA students think that sBux can be used for other things such as paying their UNISA fees or accommodation.

UNISA’s SRC even started a campaign on Avaaz titled:

Implementation of sBux by NSFAS.: Remove the sBux system

 New NSFAS system petition on Avaaz

Hopefully NSFAS will be able to keep students abreast of any further developments and try to make any new implementations as user friendly as possible.

What are your thoughts on the new NSFAS sBux system?


Written by Kurt Wyngaard

158 thoughts on “The problem with the new NSFAS System (sBux)”

  1. I, lost my pin number. i want to know how to access it. i am registered for year modules and i will need money for the textbook as the one i had only covered books for my first semester module.
    your response will be highly appreciated

  2. khumbuzile PRINCESS nzama


    HELLO I SENT AN EMAIL CONCERNING THE CASH Allowance since i am a fundza lushaka bursary holder a month ago and there has been no respond except to say that youll look to eat.Please guys help me out here since im not working and i depend on that cash allowance for survival,and im concern about the shoprites and checkers stores which are suppose to be assisting with the vouchers,are way out of town since i live in soweto and youer call centre poeple told me that they are based on the Benoni side.How will that help us as studentspls help my id no is [censored],and please

    1. Kurt Wyngaard

      Hi Kumbuzile,

      I cannot find any contact details for Fundza Lushaka.
      Please try to email them again.

  3. Hi I, I lost my phone that I used,I tried to get a voucher to purchase books but it says invalid pin even though it is right with my mom’s phone. Can I use the till slip I got when purchased for 1st semester books as it got all the info?

    1. Hi Patricia,

      You could try using the till slip, but if that doesn’t work you should contact NSFAS directly.

  4. I’ve paid for food wth my cash voucher bt it says de transaction has failed bt on my phne it shows dt it has paid.can you give me the voucher number again

  5. nompilo manqele

    I have received my Sbux account and activated it on 12th of November 2014 but i have not yet received my allowances some students in my class have received it

  6. Sibongile Msweli

    Hello i am worried about Funzalushaka bursary i always apply but it says “application unsuccessful due to poor perfomance it makes me wonder because i always pass and have distinctions too will you please explain about it i am trying by all my means to obtain good marks in all my modules but i am dissapointed why?

  7. I am a fourth year student at unisa and I was using sbux last year but this year when I use the same pin it says the pin is invalid and even if I sign my LAF it says my I D number does not exist

    1. Dear fellows

      I also experience the same problem, its four months now. Fortunately I passed all of my modules for this semester using study guides which I received from UNISA. I can login with my Sbux account online, and it says I have R4000 in my wallet for book allowance, but while it says unverified on my profile, so I took this matter to the NSFAS and Sbux assistants but it seems like they have no idea of their job specification as they supply me with deviating and contradicting statements. I’ve been wasting much of my time and my family’s money contacting them directly, my tears coming out every time before I open my study guides wondering if I’ll make it or not without prescribed books. Really something has to be done as this negatively affects our ability to acquire these educations, Is either the Sbux service has to terminate its system or resolve its system functioning. We’d like to be satisfied with the NSFAS as we’re going to refund in future, Its not free.

  8. In 2013 I was a funded by NSFAS whilst I was studying at NMMU but in the following year I was not funded again maybe because of my poor results at the end of the year. my concern is that why did NSFAS did not pay the full amount as it was supposed to be. I now still owe the University an amount of R7651.43.

  9. Hi there…I would like to know if I will be able to get a cash voucher because I have tried creating one as instructed on the sbux but it declines. I struggle with transport. Thanks.

  10. Hi I have activated my sBux but my account is says the was error in payment can you please help me to sort this problem so that I can able to get my voucher.

  11. At last I have found my voucher after waiting too long.ThanK you I bought my books.Calling the call centre helped a lot.

  12. Hi,i found that someone has used my voucher number to buy some staff. I was suprised when i found out that the amount i know i have is no longer the same,please help,what am i supposed to do?

  13. I would lile to know when is the opening date for nsfas unisa second semester 2015. I want to apply as I would love to start with my studies.

  14. I tried to activate my Sbux account today but each time a password is requested. This is the first time I am introduced to this system. I have followed the instructions how to activate the sbux account but was unsuccessful.

  15. Hi! Am using nsfas since i stated my Tertiary school n fill de agreement form bt nsfas waz nt payng for my food allowance last 2014 year i got de sms giving me an Sbuxpin bt wen i used it, it waz havng R0 den i foget de pin since it waz alwys sayng R0, dz year 2015 i gt an sms sayng my voucher have been sent i called de nsfas student help line dey told me 2send my certified ID copy n an affirdafit confirming am de owner of de lost sbux pin number dey nsfas team responded sayng dey will get back to me Asap but since last month hvnt had anythng from them

  16. Hi I’m V T Zulu nsfas student, but this year I’m awarded by a bursary from DSD.My problem is that I don’t know whether I have to sign LAF or not

  17. Last week tuesday i create a voucher wit da amount of R400 nd i went to shoprite sodat i can withdraw dat money nd da computer froze when i ws abt to get my money nd fews hours later i checked my query i found out dat da money have been with draw nd nw i cnt hv it bcoz thy want proof dat i dd draw some money at so they sort of want me to gt a copy somethng like a statement nd am nt sure where nd when ill get such thing yoh anyone plz help

  18. Please help!
    I had an opening balance of R740, I went to shoprite to draw R700 online and I didn’t receive a view code to draw it but when I checked my balance it showed R40 only. I have (-R700) under my query

  19. Am a UNISA student i have just received my books voucher after my exams.. Is it possible to claim my book voucher into cash?

  20. HI M A DMV student I want to know how much is nsfas giving voucher for food per semester. nd I want to know if DMV is also providing wth accommodation bcoz m paying rent where m staying


  22. llai letta Michelle mabula

    Hi I lost my password and I recently call NFSAS offices to assist me with my password and they said they won’t be able to help me. Then where am I suppose to get my password from?

  23. Cleopatra Maseko

    Hi I’m still waiting for a voucher to buy books, i need them for assignment and exams are around the corner

  24. I am a current sbux beneficiary and up now I haven’t been funded for books, accomodation ,etc.I do not really understand whats happening this year!As an active student, this just brings my morale down and Im no longer inspired.Furthermore exams are nearing without all necessary tools.

    If the authorities can shed some light there, I would highly appreciate.

    1. Hi all I have receive my sbux money worth R5000 it says books I have a voucher and everything I want to pay rent please tell me where to draw this money and how am so confused please help out

      1. Hi Nk,

        Here is a list from sBux on how it works:

        How does sBux work?

        If you are eligible for allowances, NSFAS will pay your allowances in the form of vouchers, which are sent to your cell phone.

        The vouchers have a unique number and can only be used once.

        You are able to spend these sBux vouchers at registered sBux merchants.

        If you receive travel allowances, you are able to redeem cash vouchers at Shoprite, Checkers, Boxer, U-Save and select Spar stores.

        You may not redeem food, books or private accommodation vouchers into cash.


        1. Humbulani kevin magau

          Sir am already receive my password since from 21 april 2016 and they say i have to wait 48 hours and i do but until now its 27 april i dnt see a message from xbux about vouchers and money so i want to know what the problem

  25. when am i getting to sign the SOP form i cant pay rent because of a problem i have with the financial aid please respond.

  26. Comment hi.. I have received my Email but last month on the 24March.. but this month it hasn’t been transferred yet.. is it going because it’s on them weekend? or wat

  27. hi i have a huge problem i am an nsfas new student i use sbux in terms that i have to recieve R1000 for food allawence but i recieve half of it when icontact nsfas told me tha this month i left with the balance of R3500 WHICH MEAN THAT I SHOULD GET r1000 PER MONTH I DID NOT RECIEVE THAT A,MOUNT PLZ I NEED A HELP

  28. Humbulani kevin magau

    I have a problem because of xbux am already receive my password from 21 april 2016 but since from that day until now i dnt receive any message from xbux about voucher so i want to know what the problem

  29. Tshegofatso Marite

    Im a Unisa student and nsfas paid half of my registration fee, I received an email saying I should sign the LAF agreement form, I did and have been waiting for a welcoming message from sbux, when I try to register it requests for a password which I do not have. I called the nsfas call centre and the lady said she will send me the message immediately but I waited even today im still waiting. Please help because I want to buy books for next semester.

    Thank you

  30. I was using skills bursary since 2011 and i had no problem but this year they say nsfas didn’t fund me and i am doing final year i am depending on the social grant of my mother and we are eight what can i do i am studying at univen

  31. Hi am student at West Coast College,i would like to know if the college are able to recieve this voucher. i recieved a message that say i must sign the SOP. Then i was instructed to go to the office to sign it. Then after i recieved a message about sBux,of which i have no idea about. Can u tell me what must i do now. Confused

  32. Netshishivhe Nditsheni Porcia

    I am student of VHEMBE TVET college.I received a message that say I must sign the sop.I sign the sop bt still I don’t get the password. What is happening because am confused

  33. Queen kelehetswe

    i went to shorprite to withdraw cash but i cnt get the money …ive tried a several times it says “declined”

  34. I am desperate for any help or advice. I have called the NSFAS team numerous times and they are not much of help. I am a Funza lushaka bursary holder and NSFAS were supposed to give me a SOP to sign but they gave me a LAF. I signed it before I knew the difference between the two. I never applied for any loan I want it to be changes back to a SOP.

    PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Matshebele rejoyce

    I hv a problem wth my voucher number nine starts with 42 and other stats with 225 wen i enter mine its says u dialled an incorrect voucher number
    Its s possible to get another voucher number?

  36. Nondumiso Nyuswa

    Hi, I’m from DUT and I have a problem regarding my vouchers, I only receive book allowance voucher. What happened to my food allowance cause I stay in res?

  37. ntshuxeko macebele having a problem signing the loan agreement foem,when i enter my id it says my id is invalid but i have been using nsfas for the past two years an i have never had that problem before.what should i do because i even received an sms saying that i should sign

  38. hi i received my sbux msg from my email…when i dear the number *120*…then it ask 4 a pin..which pin i should put coz m not given one

  39. thabelo phalandwa

    hi the due date of my payment has pass and I haven’t receive the money ..the payment was suppose to be on 26 and it was on Sunday today is the end of months I want to know what is the problem and why I haven’t receive the money..because I need the money for transport

  40. Comment I’m an Orbit College student I got my sBux account activated on end of May the amount was R2600 I tried to withdraw it and it declines I called NSFAS landline but they are not helping how can I reverse it and get my money back because right now the balance is RO and I have not withdrawn any money….please help I really need it

  41. I m a student from vhembe TVET
    COLLEGE I received sbux money today which is 1200 and I made a mistake where I should have entered 1000 but I entered 1200. and I told cashier that I want to withdraw 1000 but does not allow pls help what should I do.

  42. lebogang maria

    Comment. hi i have recieved an email that i should register for sbux i did register but when i enter the *132*….. it says i must enter a password where should i get the password please help

  43. Hi am an Nsfas student who is first time introduced to sbux and now am struggling to register myself and the closing date is nearly..plz help

  44. lebogang maria

    Hi I have an sbux accound but since then my balance is R0 and I will be needing money for transport soon

  45. I have been receiving my traveling allowance from april and it comes on the 19th of each month..this month i hvnt received anything.. So do we receive our allowances in july after the holidays?

  46. lebogangdivine

    Hi I am having an allowance of 1500 for transport but in my sbux I only got 900. I really need this money because I struggle with my transport fees

  47. Good day I’m a unisa student,so I’d like to know on when are we going to receive book vouchers because I’m failing to submit my assignments coz of not having official study material..pls help

  48. Good day, I am currently applying for a bursary on the NSFAS website. However, while entering the Cellphone number and annual income numbers, I came across a odd little problem. No matter how many times I entered the numbers, the website stated, and I quote, “Please enter a valid number.”. Even when I attempted different variations of the numbers (eg. different spacing, adding R or Rand in front of the annual income), the same message appeared. I am unsure as to whether this is a glitch of the system, or whether I am going about this in the wrong way. Can you please help?

  49. Actually, never mind, figured it out, sorry. And I quote, “Those who believe that there is no such thing as a stupid question, have never worked in Customer Service.”- funnyquotes. A fitting quote for my stupidity, I believe. Sorry again.

  50. Sithaba Pfarelo Pretty

    hi! I am the returning student at Vhembe TVET campus and this is my final year, I applied for sbux early this year but I haven’t received any SMS from nsfas, please help I want to know what the problem is

  51. Nondumiso Mnyadi


    I received an sms saying I must sign my sop and I did but I still can’t access my Sbux, it requires a password of which I do not know…can you please assist me on this.

  52. Hi Sithaba, if you have not yet received an sms, I advice that you contact them for more information ,
    Please try this number 0860 067 327, hopefully you will be helped.

  53. Greetings Everyone, I had R830 in my account, and I exchanged it for a voucher using *134*176# option 1. then I went to shoprite to redeem the voucher, but the system declined. I then checked my balance and found that it says 0 and (-R830). In your experience what could have happened? Is it possible that the system could be delayed? 0827035246 whatsapp also

  54. I do not know where to start, last semester I got my allowance first of MAY. Only got a month to cover my studies, submitted my assignments using old books and google. NOW again since last semester I did not get my allowance. They sent a message saying I will get my allowance first of AUGUST. Even now I am waiting for the dark, as I see. Tried to call and email them no answer. They rather put me on hold till my airtime is finished. Help me please.

  55. matimba golden baloyi

    Hi..i apply bursary for this semestr and i ddnt receive any message to show me that am accpted ,nd now i get stuck and i didnt have money to pay transport,nd am near by exams nd falied to write some test because of money…so help me.

  56. I signed sop on 6 of October but I have not received my allowance till now. I called Nsfas many times they promise that they will check the problem and call me back but till now I’m still waiting.

  57. hi I’ve entered the wrong email when I was registering it is possible to reset all the information so that I can apply again

  58. Hi there,

    Does anyone know if Shoprite in Greenacres, Port Elizabeth accepts SBux? Or does anyone know where I can get a list of Port Elizabeth retailers that accept SBux?

    Thank you kindly

  59. I have sign my agreement form BT I did not get my password, when I try to send my I’d number as my password, it’s say: it is invalid. Help me to get my password

  60. Comment: I’m Zinhle Mgenge a student at Umfolozi Tvet College eSikhawini Campus I’ve forgotten my sbux password. please help what should I do

  61. Nsfas paid for my fees but didn’t create an agreement form until may, so I couldn’t access my sbux account to buy books. My other worry is that nsfas don’t seem to offer cash vouchers to UNISA students, while students have to travel to do practicals and attend workshops for the whole six months. Please do something about this

  62. ntomfuthi mngomezulu

    i haven’t received the sop sms and am getting worried coz i don’t have cash to pay my fees the school are closed please help me coz they might not accept me at school next year my student number is 201603882 my id is9610210502092 cell phone numbers 0799922701

  63. ntomfuthi mngomezulu

    Comment i haven’t sign the sop massage i don’t know what’s gonna happen next coz i didn’t pay my school fees i have no cash help me nsfas my id is9610210592082 cell number is 0799922701

  64. I have received a message saying that I’m provisionally funded but since 4 February I haven’t received any message and on my NSFAS account my application status is no longer there. What do I do next?

  65. anele confidence dalamini

    I sent my ID and affidavit document via an email in order to change my number since NSFAS I do not receive the one-time pin they believe that they sent it to my mother’s phone number. my ID is 9907130349084 and number is 0783970816

  66. londiwe mncwabe

    Hi I have problems I don’t have xbus password how can I get it cozi want to start study BT I don’t have books

  67. Is possible to transfere your money from sbux to your study fees or to your bank so that you be able to go to the cumpas and paid your fees. please reply to my email.

  68. I am student at Unisa doing my 3rd year, since we don’t have an acommodation am but and using my own cents for transport do nsfas fund students who renting and if nfsas does how?

  69. Nosipho Myeni

    I have signed my LAF weeks ago and I didn’t recieve any welcoming message directing me the procedures to follow, even if I am dialing the USSD code there is no network. I don’t what to do because i don’t have access to sBUX I can’t even buy books and the exams has began.

  70. i dont get access on my sbux voucher it saying service not running try again later i tried several times

  71. refilwe kgoahla

    the sbux application is not working. how can I check my balance or pay without using callphone

  72. tondani meshia

    I sign laf on Thursday 11 may since dat I never receive anything from nsfas so I want to know that it takes how long to sent me password ad evrthng thank yue


    hy can u plz help i recieved a sms from sbux saying dat i must dial *134*176# to activate it bt my phone said dat i:ve put my id wrong too many times i mst call the call centre i did dat they gave me a website bt even now im not getting any help .so i waz asking dat is it possible for me to activate it via internet?

  74. cebisile sithole

    i’m student from dundee majuba college i remember my email and password but when i want to check messages from nsfas it tell me this use name password is incorrect. what that means cause i still remember my use name and
    password for my email ? i
    i’m stress please help me

  75. I did go to shoprite to draw the money 1700 but it declined the cashier said to me i suppose to draw a half of it that’s why it declined cos I did make a full transaction so help me guys how can i rectify this mess cos I can’t draw it now

  76. hey I have a problem here my LAF/SOP link has expired ,so I wnn know wht must I do to get a new one plzz help plzz

  77. I have changed my number so the first pin to sign at sop has been sent to the old number what should I do,again I scan my avidavit n my I’d and I sent them on Nsfas to tell them I change my number but I didn’t get the response

  78. I have changed my cell number and I did scan my avidavit and my ID document I emailed it at sbuz by last week but I didn’t get any feedback what should I do,becouse I call them and they say I must try to sign on line my sop I did bt the first password go to that old number please help me

  79. Hi i have a business and I want my nsfas funded with meal allowance customers to be able to swipe with their vouchers , they have been trying to do so but their cards are declined by my machines ,,,, which route should I have to take to get partnership with nsfas or accreditation

  80. Hey,I’m unisa student,I had receive my Sbux user name and password but balance is always 0 since from last semester, l really need help

    1. Hi,

      It looks like you are trying to contact UNISA. However, you have emailed us at Together We Pass. We are not affiliated with UNISA, so we cannot help you with this query.

      If you want help with your UNISA studies, with extra tuition, notes and exam packs we are your guys.

      However, if you are trying to reach UNISA we have this page of contacts that might be able to help:

      Kind Regards
      The Together We Pass Team

  81. Samukelisiwe S. Mthembu

    Comment:My name is Samkelisiwe Mthembu I received a sms from NSFAS that I am being funded but now I don’t know what to do next,I also need SBux as I live far from Unisa pls help

  82. i tried to redeem my cash voucher today but it wont go through it keeps on saying declined and i desperately need the cash please help or is there somethung wrong with my voucher number?

    1. Hie Kgothatso

      Thank you for getting in touch, we would advise you to contact UNISA directly or visit their website
      so they can be able to assist you , we only offer online study groups for registered UNISA students.

      Let us know the modules that you are registered for with UNISA so we can tell you whether we offer support for those modules.

      Hope to hear from you soon.
      Together We Pass

  83. Hi
    I went to Shoprite Saturday to withdraw my cash voucher and it declined, but when I checked my balance it still R0 yet it also says “reversed”. Now I’m not sure of what to do.
    Please help me!

    1. Hie

      Thank you for your comment . Unfortunately we are not able to assist as we are not affiliated with NSFAS we offer online study groups for registered UNISA students.

      We would advise you to contact NSFAS directly on 08000 67327

      Together We Pass.

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