The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has opened its application cycle for the 2021 academic year, according to the Department of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation.
The NSFAS 2021 application cycle will run from 3 August to 30 November. This has come as a surprise to many, especially as the application cycle usually begins annually from 1 September.
As in recent years, the application process would be conducted online through the myNSFAS portal. The portal has been redesigned and minor enhancements have been added to give new and returning users a better experience.
To date, over 700 000 students are funded by NSFAS for the 2020 academic year – 248 242 from TVET colleges, while 481 339 beneficiaries came from universities (with registration data).
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande stated that there has been a 20% increase when compared with 2019 registration data. Furthermore, he stated that NSFAS beneficiaries account for 40% of the undergraduate population at universities, and 70% at TVET colleges.
Changes made to the myNSFAS portal
The myNSFAS portal has been altered and undergone minor enhancements and changes to improve security and user experience.
New applicants will need a copy of their ID or birth certificate in order to create and register a profile on the myNSFAS portal. Already registered students can simply access the myNSFAS portal through their registered login details.
Applicants who are applying for NSFAS 2021 funding will have to meet the following requirements:
- The applicant must be a South African citizen,
- The applicant’s combined annual household income must be no more than R350 000
- Applicants with a disability – combined annual household income must be no more less than R600 000
Furthermore, prospective students will have to submit the following supporting documents in order to apply for NSFAS 2021 funding:
- A copy of their ID;
- A copy of the parent/guardian’s ID;
- A parent/guardian’s proof of income; and/or
- Annexure A for applicants with disabilities.
Applicants are required to give consent for personal information verification with 3rd parties, such as the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). Applicants will be able to use the NYDA facilities for assistance with NSFAS 2021 applications from September 1st.
NSFAS is also working on a programme called the Virtual Outreach project. The programme will consist of interactive live streaming sessions where applicants head onto a virtual tour on NSFAS products and services.
NSFAS has also launched its virtual contact centre, which coincided with the closure of its contact call centre number. The virtual platform will provide assistance to students through various social media platforms as well as through NSFAS Chat, an interactive chat portal available through myNSFAS.
Final words of encouragement from Minister Nzimande
Minister Nzimande has urged students to make use of the opportunity and apply within the allocated time frame, not leaving it to the last hour.
Published: 05 August 2020