Student Funding

NSFAS loans and bursaries


The 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 higher education institutions.


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 modules which the student has passed. A 100% pass rate will result in a 40% bursary rebate on this NSFAS loan.


NSFAS loan criteria

You may apply for a NSFAS loan if you are

  • a South African student studying at a public South African higher education institution.
  • an undergraduate student studying towards a first higher education qualification.
  • studying towards a postgraduate qualification which is a requirement to practise in a chosen profession (eg Postgraduate Certificate in Education).
  • studying towards any postgraduate qualification except the MBA, the MBL, the DBA or the DBL.
  • able to demonstrate potential for academic success and that you are financially needy.


Application process
(including historic debt loans and postgraduate loans) 

Please note:

  • Your application form must be fully and correctly completed.
  • You must submit all the required documentation as part of your application.
  • You must submit your application before the closing date as published on the NSFAS website: www.nsfas.org.za


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. However, if the student does not adhere to the bursary conditions, the bursary will be converted to a loan. This loan will have to be repaid with interest.

Please visit the undergraduate bursary page for individual bursary criteria.

For more information on NSFAS loans and bursaries, please visit the NSFAS website: www.nsfas.org.za