NSFAS is a government entity under the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) established according to the NSFAS Act (Act 56 of 1999) to provide financial support to disadvantaged students who wish to further their studies at public universities or TVET colleges. It receives funds from the Government and then grants them to students.
NSFAS administers several different loan and bursary schemes, but the major one is the DHET Bursary.
This article deals specifically with the requirements for this DHET bursary and the NSFAS online application process. Details of other nsfas bursaries are available at NSFAS.
The DHET Bursary
Up to 2017, NSFAS was a loan scheme, and students had to repay the money, plus interest, once they completed their studies, started working, and were earning at least R30,000 per month.
The rationale for this system was that the fund would always be replenished by these repayments to be available for new students. These rules remain for all studies sponsored up to and including 2017.
However, the South African Government has since the end of 2017 pledged that education should be free for underprivileged and working-class students.
As a result, from the 2018 academic year, NSFAS has implemented a new DHET bursary scheme that does not have to be repaid. All studies from 2018, whether for new or returning students, will be free, although some conditions apply.