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African Students Accumulate Debt Despite Complete Bursaries From NSFAS



African Students Accumulate Debt Despite Complete Bursaries From NSFAS

African Students Accumulate Debt Despite Complete Bursaries From NSFAS. What once seemed like a promising future for many university students has turned into a persistent source of financial strain, even for those receiving full bursaries from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). Extra costs and poor management at higher education institutions have pushed many students to drop out or live in precarious conditions, overshadowing their hopes of starting higher education on a clean slate.

Increasing Costs And Hidden Expenses

A full bursary from NSFAS covers tuition fees, but the reality is far more complex. Students face expenses for accommodation, textbooks, food, transport, and other living costs. The high fees within universities and the rising cost of living exacerbate the financial burden. Additionally, hidden costs and administrative inefficiencies often lead to significant delays in bursary disbursements. Students who rely on these funds for their immediate needs find themselves struggling to continue their studies.

NSFAS spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi acknowledged these issues and urged students to report any delays or discrepancies in finances. However, students argue that these measures are inadequate in addressing the systemic problems causing financial instability. The theoretical stipends provided by bursaries fall short of meeting the actual needs of students.

Impact On Student Life And Academic Performance

The financial challenges students face have far-reaching implications for their academic performance and overall well-being. Students unable to afford on-campus accommodation or basic necessities often resort to staying in friends’ rooms or finding unsafe and unsuitable housing alternatives. This negatively impacts their academic performance and deteriorates their mental and physical health.

The stress of financial instability leads to burnout, anxiety, and hopelessness. Instead of focusing on their intellectual and personal development, students are constantly worried about their daily survival. This environment contributes to a high dropout rate as capable students abandon their education due to insurmountable financial pressures. This loss is not only a personal tragedy but also affects the country’s future workforce and economic development.

Potential Solutions And Role Of Stakeholders

Addressing students’ financial challenges requires a multifaceted approach involving all stakeholders, including the government, educational institutions, and the private sector. First, the NSFAS funding model needs a thorough review to ensure it adequately covers accommodation and living expenses. Universities must also work to contain tuition and other fee increases within the broader economic conditions affecting students and their families.

Improving the efficiency and transparency of bursary payments is crucial. Delays exacerbate financial burdens, and streamlined processes can provide immediate relief. Universities should collaborate closely with NSFAS to establish clear communication and support structures for students in need.

The private sector can play a significant role by offering scholarships, internships, or part-time jobs, allowing students to gain work experience while earning money to support their studies. Additionally, financial literacy programs can equip students with the skills to manage their finances better and make informed decisions on budgeting, saving, and spending.


While full NSFAS bursaries are significant steps toward supporting higher education, they only partially address students’ financial needs. A comprehensive solution requires collaboration to provide fundamental support, enabling all students to realize their educational potential without the looming threat of debt. Building a more equitable and sustainable educational system will ensure that the nation’s future leaders are genuinely supported.

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Must You Reapply For NSFAS When Transitioning From University To TVET College?



Must You Reapply For NSFAS When Transitioning From University To TVET College?

Must You Reapply For NSFAS When Transitioning From University To TVET College? The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is a comprehensive financial aid program designed to assist students in pursuing higher education at public universities and TVET Colleges in South Africa. If you’re transferring from one type of institution to another, you might wonder about the implications for your NSFAS funding.

Transitioning From University to TVET College

Are you aiming for a rewarding career but find that traditional university education isn’t the right fit for you? NSFAS can help you realize your goals by providing funding for TVET Colleges. This support can turn your passion into reality by covering essential educational expenses.

What NSFAS Covers

NSFAS offers bursaries and loans to cover the costs of:

  • Tuition
  • Registration
  • Essential living expenses (accommodation, transportation, etc.)

Do You Need To Reapply for NSFAS?

If you are transitioning from a university to a TVET College, it is crucial to understand the NSFAS policy on reapplication. According to the NSFAS Eligibility Criteria and Conditions for Financial Aid:

“Students who change institution types (i.e., shift from TVET College to University or vice versa) must re-apply for funding”.

This means that if you are moving from a university to a TVET College, you will need to reapply for NSFAS funding. It’s also important to note that NSFAS only funds students pursuing their first certificate or undergraduate qualification.

How to Apply for NSFAS

Step 1: Create A MyNSFAS Account

  1. If you already have a myNSFAS account, click on ‘login’ at the myNSFAS portal and complete your information.
  2. If you don’t have a myNSFAS account, click on ‘Create account’ and follow the prompts to set up your account.

Step 2: Log Into Your myNSFAS Account

  1. Use your login details to access your myNSFAS account.

Step 3: Complete The Application

  1. Click on ‘Apply’.
  2. Answer the questions displayed on the screen.
  3. If necessary, upload any supporting documents (often, this step is not required).
  4. Click on ‘Submit’.

Step 4: Receive Your Application Reference Number

After submitting your application, you will receive an application reference number. Keep this number safe for future reference.

NSFAS Funding Eligibility

NSFAS provides funding to students from poor and working-class backgrounds who are studying towards a qualification at one of the 26 public universities or 50 TVET Colleges.


Transitioning from a university to a TVET College can be a significant step in your educational journey. While this move requires reapplying for NSFAS funding, the process is straightforward and ensures that you continue to receive the financial support needed to achieve your educational and career goals.

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