How NSFAS Payment works

A full bursary covers tuition and registration plus allowances, based on each student’s circumstances to cover accommodation and/or meals, and/or transport and personal costs. Payments are managed as follows:

  • Tuition fees are paid directly to the educational institution and reflect a credit against the student’s account.  The amount covers the actual cost of tuition for the qualification, plus any registration fees that might apply. Payment intervals are agreed between NSFAS and the institution.
  • Allowances may be adjusted and will be published in the DHET National Rules and Guidelines for each year. Payment protocols depend on each student’s circumstances and choices:
    • If the student stays in accommodation provided by the educational institution, then the relevant amounts will be paid directly to the institution.
    • Allowances may be paid to the academic institutions and then transferred into the student’s bank account.
    • Alternatively, the allowance may be paid in the form of an NSFAS-Wallet voucher into the student’s NSFAS-Wallet account, linked to the student’s cell phone. The vouchers can be redeemed at participating NSFAS-Wallet vendors.
    • Cash can be withdrawn from the wallets at Checkers, U-Save, and selected Spar stores.

Student obligations and warranties

To remain eligible for the bursary

Students have the following obligations if they wish to remain eligible for the bursary:

  • Attendance and participation in lectures, tutorials, and academic support programmes as required by the education institution. TVET students must attend at least 80% of all classes.
  • Meeting due performance in terms of assignments and tasks
  • Undergoing the required tests and examinations
  • Satisfying the minimum progression requirements of the educational institution and as per the DHET Rules and Guidelines

Other requirements listed in rules and guidelines

  • Obeying the rules and codes of conduct of the education institution and pursuing the qualification with commitment and dedication
  • Keeping NSFAS informed of any changes of information recorded in the Bursary agreement. This might include changes in personal details such as address, telephone or email, a change in qualification, a notice of suspension or expulsion from the educational institution, details of employer, both during studies and after completion,  details of any additional funding received outside of the NSFAS bursary.

Completion of studies – the n+1 rule

Students are expected to complete the qualification within the period as prescribed by the DHET. Currently, the requirement is n+1 – ie within the standard period for completing the qualification plus one additional year.

Students may amend or change their qualification at the end of the first year only. However, this first year will be counted in the n+1 formula.

The n+1 formula also applies to students who had years/semester of study funded from elsewhere. The n+1 applies to actual years of study, not to years funded by NSFAS.

Service to the community and the country

Students have community service obligations that must be completed from the second year and every subsequent academic year. (Note that while this is in the Bursary Agreement Terms and Conditions this requirement has not yet been fully implemented.)

After completing their studies, students are required to remain in South Africa and participate in the economy in some form, for at least as long as they benefitted from the bursary. They may travel out of the country to complete a further qualification but must return to South Africa after completion to contribute to the SA economy in return for the bursary.

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