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Student Union Embraces New NSFAS Funding Model



Student Union Embraces New NSFAS Funding Model

Student Union Embraces New NSFAS Funding Model. In a significant move to support students in higher education, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has introduced a new funding model designed to assist the ‘missing middle’—students from families with incomes too high for NSFAS funding but insufficient to cover university fees. This initiative aims to bridge the financial gap, ensuring more students can afford higher education.

Understanding the ‘Missing Middle’

The ‘missing middle’ refers to students whose family incomes are too high to qualify for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding yet too low to afford university tuition without financial strain. These students often fall through the cracks of existing financial aid programs, making higher education a significant financial burden for their families.

New NSFAS Funding Model Unveiled

Minister Blade Nzimande has introduced a new funding model to address this issue. This model aims to provide financial assistance to the ‘missing middle,’ ensuring they have the necessary support to pursue their studies without financial worries. The specifics of the funding model include:

  • Eligibility Criteria: Adjusted to include students from families with incomes above the NSFAS threshold but below the level required to pay for university fees comfortably.
  • Funding Allocation: A new mechanism to distribute funds more equitably among eligible students.
    Support Services: Enhanced support services to help students navigate the application process and manage their finances.

SA Union of Students Response

The South African Union of Students (SAUS) has welcomed the new funding model, acknowledging it as a positive step towards making higher education more accessible. However, the union emphasizes that more work is needed to stabilize NSFAS and ensure effective coordination across the sector. Asive Dlanjwa, a representative of SAUS, stated:

“A lot of work needs to be put in place to stabilize NSFAS and to better coordinate the sector to ensure that some of the programmes are rolled out. We think it’s an incredible step or stride towards broadening access, but we don’t think that the challenges at NSFAS will necessarily disappear.”

Challenges Ahead

While the new funding model is a promising development, several challenges need to be addressed to ensure its success:

  • NSFAS Stability: Ensuring that NSFAS has the necessary resources and management capacity to handle the increased workload.
  • Coordination and Implementation: Effective coordination between universities, government bodies, and NSFAS to implement the new funding model smoothly.
  • Sustaining Funding: Securing long-term funding to support the ‘missing middle’ without compromising the support for students currently receiving NSFAS aid.


The introduction of the new NSFAS funding model by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande marks a significant step towards addressing the financial challenges faced by the ‘missing middle’ in South Africa. While the SA Union of Students welcomes this move, they highlight the need for continued efforts to stabilize NSFAS and ensure the effective implementation of this new model. By addressing these challenges, the new funding model has the potential to make higher education more accessible and affordable for a broader range of students.

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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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