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Directorate: Student Funding

NSFAS loans

National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is a statutory body, funded primarily by the South African National Department of Education and Training, which provides study loans to academically able but financially needy students who wish to study at one of South Africa's public institutions of higher education.

What is a NSFAS loan?

A NSFAS loan is an award that a student can receive from NSFAS upon applying and qualifying for such loan. This loan has to be repaid with interest (interest of each year is linked to the national inflation rate). A maximum award size is determined for each year by NSFAS. A portion of this award can be converted into a bursary based on academic performance. The size of this bursary is determined by the number of courses which the student has passed. A 100% pass rate will result in a 40% bursary rebate on this NSFAS loan.

NSFAS Loan Criteria:

  • Only South African students studying at public South African Higher Education Institutions;
  • Undergraduate student studying towards a first higher education qualification;
  • Studying for a postgraduate course which is a requirement to practice his/her chosen profession (e.g. Post-graduate Certificate in Education);
  • Any postgraduate degree except, MBA, MBL, DBA or DBL;
  • Student must be able to demonstrate potential for academic success and that he/she is financially needy;
  • Application form has to be fully and correctly completed;
  • All required documentation need to be submitted upon application;
  • Must apply before the closing date as published on the NSFAS webpage
      Applications can be submitted online at the NSFAS webpage.
      What is a NSFAS bursary?

      A variety of NSFAS bursaries exist, each with its own criteria. A NSFAS bursary is an award that a student receives upon application for such funding. This bursary award does not have to be repaid, if the student however does not wish to adhere to the bursary conditions such bursary is reverted to a loan. This loan will have to be repaid with interest. Please visit the undergraduate bursary page for individual bursary criteria.

      NSFAS Historic Debt Loan

      This loan has been made available for students who complied with all the requirements to complete their qualifications but could not receive their certificates because of outstanding fees. The loan is available to both NSFAS-funded and non-NSFAS funded students who could graduate between 2000 and 2010, but did not receive certificates due to outstanding fees. This funding is available to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. It is a 100% loan and interest starts accruing from the date upon which the loan is awarded. Closing date for application: 31 August 2012. 

      Download the NSFAS Historic debt application form(PDF: 908.83Kb)

      NSFAS Post-graduate Loan

      This loan has been made available to students studying towards a post-graduate qualification. Students who are financially needy and who are progressing academically can apply for this funding. Closing date for applications: 17 September 2012. 

      Download the NSFAS Post-graduate loan application form (PDF: 900.77Kb)