How does NSFAS work?

The NSFAS administers funds for approved programs at 26 public universities and 50 TVET Colleges in South Africa. The goal is to provide financial aid and other support to ensure student success and improved throughput.

The rules for the DHET bursary are set out in the following documents:

  • Guidelines for the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) Bursary Scheme for Students at Public Universities – issued by the Department of Higher Education and Training
  • Bursary Agreement Terms and Conditions (which forms part of the NSFAS Bursary agreement)


The following students qualify for NSFAS funding:

Financial eligibility

  • All South African citizens (there is no age limit)
  • Every recipient of a SASSA grant.
  • Applicants whose combined household income is not more than R350 000 per annum.
  • A person with a disability –  combined household income must not be more than R600 000 per annum
  • Students who started studying before 2018 whose household income is not more than R122 000 per annum.

Academic eligibility

Minimum requirement: For a TVET course, the student must have passed at least Grade 9.  For a University course, Grade 12 with university exemption (bachelor’s pass). Also, depending on the academic course, there will be further academic admission requirements.

To be eligible for an NSFAS bursary, the following are the requirements

  • The student must have received confirmation of admission into a public higher education institution for an approved funded qualification
  • Returning students must be registered for the relevant academic year and must satisfy the minimum progression requirements of the educational institution and progression rules in terms of the DHET National Rules and Guidelines

Who should not apply?

  • Students that have completed a previous qualification.
  • Students with a combined household income of more than R350 000 per annum.
  • Foreign students (any student who is not a South African citizen).
  • Students who have already applied, qualified, and received funding. They are automatically funded for the duration of their studies, provided they pass their modules and meet the academic requirements.

NSFAS will verify all students’ information with the South African Revenue Services (SARS), Dept of Home Affairs, credit bureaus, educational institutions, banks, or any other relevant source.

NSFAS has access to the National Integrated Social Protection Information System (NISPIS) to verify data, especially for SASSA beneficiaries. The student and parents/guardians will be required to give consent for NSFAS to use personal information for this purpose.

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