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Educational Funding Opportunities in South Africa

There are many people who would like to further their studies but due to their financial circumstances, cannot afford to do so. However, the government is making strides in providing greater access to funding for deserving learners who would like to continue learning.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)

NSFAS is the South African government student loan and bursaries scheme. It was set up to help South African students to further their education at public TVET colleges and universities. It provides a sustainable financial aid system for loans and bursaries, allowing deserving learners to realise their potential and hopes for the future.

NSFAS Bursary

Bursaries are available for specific fields of study, such as accounting, actuarial science and various scarce skills study fields. Since there are not enough bursaries available for all learners in South Africa, you may receive a loan that is repayable when you start working.


NSFAS loans are given to learners to cover the costs associated with their tertiary studies. The learner starts paying back the loan when they start earning a salary.

What are the Benefits of an NSFAS Loan?

  • It attracts a very low interest rate;
  • It is granted without the need for guarantees or sureties;
  • Depending on the learner’s academic results, portions of the loan can be converted into a bursary; and will be discovered later on as all financial statements have to be submitted
  • It has a very reasonable repayment plan, based on the learner’s earnings once they start earning a salary


*All repaid loans are used to fund other deserving learners.

It is important to note that NSFAS does not allocate funds directly to learners. You will need to apply for financial assistance at the institution you intend to register with and will then be assessed on the extent of your financial need.

You can apply for both the NSFAS-administered loan and bursary programmes at the university’s Financial Aid Office (FAO), or the Student Support Centre (SSC) at a TVET college or university.

Who are Qualified to Apply for an NSFAS Loan?

  • Choose where you want to study. Get in touch with the institution to confirm if they are currently offering NSFAS loans.
  • Fill out the necessary forms. Some institutions will issue you with an application for study together with an application for financial aid. You need to enquire from the institution about their process and deadlines for both.
  • Submit the necessary forms and documents. The following documents must accompany your application:
    • A South African Identity Document
    • Proof of household income (copies of your parents’ salary slips.)
    • An affidavit from the South African Police Services (if your parents are not employed you must produce an affidavit from the police station confirming this
    • Copies of your siblings’ (those at school or tertiary level) and parents’ Identity Documents
  • If you have any questions, contact the FAO or SSC on campus. They will advise you about study loans and help you with the student loan application. They will explain how you’ll access the money and repay your student loan. They will also decide whether you are financially eligible for a study loan.

How is the Application Decided?

The decision to allocate funds is based on financial needs (determined by a national means test), and having the academic potential to succeed. The institutions will guide you on this.

How do I repay the loan?

You will repay the loan when you start working and earn more than R30 000 per annum. You must constantly inform NSFAS of your contact details e.g. postal or physical address, employment details landline, cell number and email address.


For more information on NSFAS:

Tel no: 0860 067 327
Email: info@nsfas.org.za
Website: www.nsfas.org.za
Postal address: Private Bag X1 Plumstead, 7801 South Africa

University Financial Aid

Each university has a financial aid office that assists students with loan and bursary applications. Refer to the list of South African Universities and how to get hold of them.

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