Ultimate NSFAS Online Application Guide for Students

Are you one of the many people filing an NSFAS online application for this year? Do not make the mistakes others are making. Follow this simple guide to increase your chances of getting approval.

Applying for financial aid can be a crucial step in your journey to pursue higher education. One of the most significant sources of financial support for South African students is NSFAS, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

In this comprehensive guide, I will walk you through the NSFAS online application process, ensuring you have the best chance to secure the funding you need to succeed in your studies.

What is NSFAS?

NSFAS is a government program designed to help South African students cover the costs of their tertiary education. It’s there to make sure that financial constraints don’t stand in the way of your dreams.

What is more fun about this whole program is the fact that you do not have to pay anything you have been given back. This is nothing like student loans where you have to pay your loans later in life after education. Even though there is a loan type of the program, the bursary type doesn’t require you to pay back.

If you have been following this blog for a while, you will realize I wrote an earlier article about 10 Bursary application tips. NSFAS was one of the bursaries I listed in that particular article.

Who is eligible for funding?

NSFAS is available to South African citizens who plan to study at a public university or TVET college and come from households with a combined annual income of less than R350,000. This income threshold makes NSFAS accessible to many students.

Even though this is part of the criteria for determining who is eligible, there are other things that must be considered when filing the NSFAS online application.

Preparing for your NSFAS online application

You must prepare very well before filing your NSFAS online application. The more prepared you are, the better your chances of getting approval.

How then do you prepare?

You will have to know a few things including the NSFAS requirements, NSFAS required documents as well as meeting the entire NSFAS eligibility criteria. This is the most important preparation you must go through before you even think of filing your application.

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NSFAS application dates

The application will commence on 28 September 2023 and close on 31 January 2024. During this time frame, all applicants must submit their applications in order to increase their chances of getting approval.

One of the major things you must take note of is the application dates. Since filing your NSFAS online application on time will increase your chances of approval, it is necessary that you know the application dates.

NSFAS application requirements

Knowing the NSFAS application requirements before filing your application is very important. I will be listing the application requirements below for you so you can know exactly what you need in order to file your application.

  1. South African Citizens: All South African citizens are eligible for funding.
  2. SASSA Grant Recipients: Individuals who receive SASSA grants qualify for the funding.
  3. Household Income Threshold (General): Applicants whose combined household income does not exceed R350,000 per annum are eligible for assistance.
  4. Persons with Disabilities: Persons with disabilities are eligible for funding if their combined household income is not more than R600,000 per annum.
  5. Pre-2018 Students: Students who began their studies before 2018 may also qualify for funding if their household income is below R122,000 per annum.

Per the NSFAS requirements on the official NSFAS website, these are the requirements one must meet before getting accepted into the program.

NSFAS required documents

Before filing your NSFAS online application, make sure you have all these documents available before you start the application.

  • Identity Document: Make a certified copy of your ID, or your unabridged birth certificate if you’re younger than 16.
  • Identity Document for Household Members: Make certified copies of the IDs for each member of your household, including parents or guardians.
  • Academic Transcript: If you have one, make a copy of your most recent academic transcript or exam results.
  • School Fees Exemption: If you don’t pay school fees, get a letter from your school confirming the exemption.
  • Employment Documents: If you or your parents/guardians have a job, make a certified copy of a recent payslip or employment letter (no older than three months).
  • Pension Slip or Bank Statement: If someone in your household is retired, get an official pension slip or bank statement showing their pension payments.
  • Affidavits: If there are any unique circumstances in your family, like divorced parents or someone not living at home, provide a signed affidavit explaining the situation.
  • Social Grants: If anyone in your household receives a social grant, include a certified copy of the SASSA letter.
  • Dependent Documents: If you have dependents who are students, show proof of their registration or acceptance at a TVET college or university.
  • Disability Documents: If you have a disability, complete the relevant supporting documents (see the website for details) and include them with your application.

All these are documents required to make your NSFAS online application process easier. You can even find a full PDF of the required documents on the official website to download.

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NSFAS online application process

The NSFAS online application process is very simple. However, you must note that this is an online application hence you will need an active internet connection, email address, and phone number. This is because there are some online accounts you will have to create that require verification.

  • If you have all the above-mentioned items ready, follow the procedure below.
  • Visit the official NSFAS website which is nsfas.org.za. You should land on a page similar to the one in the image below.
  • Click on the “For students and learners” dropdown arrow on the navigation bar.
  • Select “How to apply” from the dropdown menu. Refer to the screenshot below.
  • Start filing your NSFAS online application right away. Make sure you fill out all required fields with accurate information. Carefully fill out the application form to create your account. Remember to make your password unique so you can remember all the time.
  • After creating your account, you will finally have access to the full NSFAS online application. Fill it out and attach all the necessary documents.

That is it. Your application will be reviewed and you will receive feedback on the decision made on your account. But before then, there are other things you must note.

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Other things to note

Keep checking your email. Usually, the NSFAS will send you a message regarding your application status. Sometimes you will have to provide additional documents. Make sure you provide accurate documents to help increase your chances of getting approval.

Also, make sure you file your NSFAS online application before the given deadlines.

Do not worry about how to withdraw your funds after application. This Coinvest NSFAS Guide will help you do just that. If for some reason you wouldn’t want to use the Coinvest App, you can also use the eZaga App.


If you have any questions that have not been answered on this page, you can leave them in the comment section and I will reply as soon as possible.

Who can apply for NSFAS funding?

1. All South African citizens are eligible.
2. SASSA grant recipients are eligible for funding.
3. Applicants qualify if their combined household income is not more than R350,000 per annum.
4. Individuals with disabilities are eligible if their combined household income is not more than R600,000 per annum.
5. Students who began their studies before 2018 are eligible if their household income is not more than R122,000 per annum.

What does NSFAS cover

University Funding:
1. Accommodation: Based on actual university costs (private accommodation should not exceed university residence costs).
2. Transport (up to 40 km from the institution): R7,500 per annum.
3. Living allowance: R15,000 per annum.
4. Book allowances: R5,200 per annum.
5. Incidental/personal care allowance (for students in catered residences): R2,900 per annum.

TVET Funding:
1. Accommodation in an urban area is R24,000 per annum, R18,900 per annum for a peri-urban area, and R15,750 per annum for a rural area
2. Transport (up to 40 km from the institution): R7,350 per annum.
3. Transport: R7,000 per annum.
4. Incidental/personal care allowance: R2,900 per annum.

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In your pursuit of higher education, this program can be your lifeline to financial support. By following this step-by-step guide, you are well on your way to submitting a successful NSFAS online application.

Remember to apply on time, be accurate, and stay informed throughout the process. Your dreams of a brighter future are within reach with NSFAS by your side.

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