Apply Now For NSFAS Loans For Missing Middle Students


There is a substantial lack of funding for missing middle and postgraduate students seeking access to tertiary education. The Department of Higher Education has introduced a Comprehensive Student Funding Model with the goal of addressing this issue.


Numerous students face challenges in securing funding, either because they are pursuing postgraduate qualifications or their household income exceeds the set threshold. The recently introduced Comprehensive Student Funding Model aims to address this issue.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Minister of the Department of Higher Education provided updates on the development of the Comprehensive Student Funding Model. Under this model, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will extend loans to missing middle students.

The term "missing middle students" encompasses individuals who do not meet the eligibility criteria for a NSFAS bursary but lack the financial means to self-fund their education. This group typically falls within a household income range of R350,000 to R600,000 per annum.

Applications for assistance are currently being accepted and can be submitted via the myNSFAS portal. If you have applied for a NSFAS bursary and your application is declined, you will automatically be considered for the loan scheme.

NSFAS is currently developing guidelines of the loan scheme and they will be communicated to the public in a weeks’ time. 

A total of R3.8 billion is allocated to sustain the loan scheme, with R1.5 billion sourced from the National Skills Fund, and the remaining R2.3 billion contributed by SETAs.

The loan scheme is designed to financially assist around 47% of missing middle students, equivalent to 31,884 individuals out of the estimated 68,446 in this category.

NSFAS is currently developing the eligibility criteria for the loan scheme and conditions for funding to ensure that the scheme is implemented during this academic year. However, I must up front indicate that the scheme will fund both undergraduate and postgraduate students. 

70% of these students will be pursuing studies in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. However, there is a possibility of adjusting this distribution to encompass commercially relevant qualifications or entrepreneurial programs that are in demand in the job market.

The remaining 30% of the loans will be allocated to students in the humanities and social sciences disciplines.

NSFAS Loan Recovery

Before 2018, NSFAS was first a loan scheme. Student debt from this loan scheme comes to over R40 billion.

Recoveries are stable but a lot can be done.

The department has recovered R110 million in the current financial year. The Minister urged previous loan scheme beneficiaries who need to repay their loans to do so to “ensure the sustainability of the loan scheme”.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is also engaging with those who need to repay their NSFAS loans to ensure acknowledgement of debt and commence making payments. The SIU secured R4 million and recovered a further R58 million from institutions.

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