Here's Why NSFAS Has Been Delayed With Releasing Funding Decisions



More than 2 million funding applications were received by NSFAS for the 2024 academic year. The funding scheme explained delays in funding decisions. 


The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) recently closed its application period for 2024 funding, receiving over 1.9 million bursary applications. However, as universities initiate their registration periods, complaints arise from applicants who await NSFAS funding decisions necessary for registration.

NSFAS Spokesperson, Ishmael Mnisi, explained that delays stemmed from awaiting students' consent forms to determine parental financial eligibility. Now resolved, efforts focus on expediting application assessments for timely feedback to students.

Part of NSFAS funding covers registration fees, with upfront payments disbursed to universities and TVET Colleges, totaling R2.8 billion and R580 million, respectively, by the end of January. Mnisi assured that NSFAS students need not pay registration fees, as tranche payments to institutions cover various expenses.

However, delays in accommodation and transport allowances have left some students stranded, resorting to makeshift accommodations in university spaces. Asive Dlanjwa of the South African Union of Students demanded prompt allowance disbursements, criticising NSFAS's funding administration.

While NSFAS acknowledged miscommunication issues with institutions regarding allowance payments, Mnisi emphasised their commitment to students' welfare. Plans are underway for additional tranche allocations to ensure comprehensive coverage for approved NSFAS students.

NSFAS Loan Applications 

NSFAS is also processing thousands of student loan applications received for the 2024 academic year, collaborating with various entities to streamline decision-making processes. NSFAS has announced partnerships with credit bureaus and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to expedite loan application processing, leveraging their resources and expertise.


NSFAS missing middle student loans was launched as part of the Comprehensive Funding Model in January by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande. These loans are  available to students who do not qualify for NSFAS bursaries but cannot afford the costs associated with higher education. 

In 2024, NSFAS received 22,954 student loan applications, confirming funding for approximately 139 students while rejecting 476 applications. The NSFAS missing middle student loans, introduced as part of the Comprehensive Funding Model in January by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, target students with household incomes between R350,000 and R600,000 who do not qualify for NSFAS bursaries.

These loans, like NSFAS bursaries, cover tuition, registration fees, and various allowances, including accommodation. Collaborating with credit bureaus and SARS enables NSFAS to verify applicants' financial eligibility, ensuring they meet income thresholds.

NSFAS is also reviewing its academic eligibility criteria to allocate funding appropriately. Despite awaiting confirmation of interest rates for the new loan scheme, consultations are ongoing with relevant stakeholders to address this before applicants consent to loan agreements.

A substantial allocation of R3.8 billion has been designated to fund the NSFAS loan scheme, facilitating the provision of 31,000 missing middle student loans in 2024. This initiative signifies a significant stride toward broadening access to higher education and easing financial burdens for South African students.

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