16 October 2017
MINISTER NZIMANDE URGES STUDENTS TO START APPLYING FOR NSFAS FUNDING EARLY, BEFORE THE NOVEMBER DEADLINE
The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande has encouraged learners and students needing financial aid, to complete their applications early. Applications for financial aid in 2018, through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), opened for learners who wish to study at a public higher education institution or a technical and vocational education and training college, on 1 August 2017. Learners and current students at universities and TVET colleges who were not funded in prior years are urged to complete their applications early and ahead of the 30 November 2017 cut-off date.
This is particularly important for Grade 12 learners, who should not wait until they have finished writing their exams to apply. Minister Nzimande also emphasised the need for students to make sure that their applications were completed timeously and that they contained all required information. The Minister further urged all public college and university students to take advantage of NSFAS application centres, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) local offices, as well as universities and TVET Colleges Student Support Services Units, who provide drop-off services for applications. “In this regard, it is very important for students, parents and guardians to know that NSFAS will not open another window for new applications after this November 30 cut-off date. Doing so, would delay the process of finalising funding lists for 2018,” he said.
NSFAS does not require exam results for the application process. Therefore, learners are encouraged to apply before their exams start so that they know that their application has been submitted. If applicants go to the NYDA offices to drop off application forms, they must ensure that they receive a reference number for future enquiries regarding their applications. Whilst the application process for funding to NSFAS is open for both online and paper-based forms, students are encouraged to rather make use of the on-line application platform. This is faster and more efficient, and applicants receive their reference number immediately.
As at 9 October 2017, NSFAS had already received 80 494 valid applications. Students are advised that only applications submitted online or via the NYDA, as well as through participating universities and colleges, will be accepted. “For ease of processing applications, we also wish to emphasise the need for students to make sure that their applications include all the requisite supporting documentation. This includes certified copies of their, and their parents’, IDs, or an unabridged birth certificate.” The NSFAS has partnered with the Departments of Home Affairs and Basic Education to ensure a swift and thorough data processing and verification process. This is in order to identify any anomalies against the country’s national population registry and matric examination database. Although not a requirement by NSFAS, applicants are advised to submit both an ID and unabridged birth certificate to speed up the verification process.
It should also be highlighted that the 2017 NSFAS- funded students, that will be progressing to the next academic level in 2018, need not re-apply for funding. However, students who are currently enrolled and were not funded in 2017, or have never received NSFAS funding and whose family circumstances have changed and believe that they now qualify for NSFAS funding, should apply”, the Minister said.
“Moving forward, we encourage all young people to start applying for their smart identification cards in time for the 2019 enrolment period. Smart ID cards will make the processing of applications even more efficient, due to completeness of individual records”, the Minister added.