Can I Still Get NSFAS If My Non-NSFAS Bursary Is Withdrawn?


If you have a full bursary from another source that isn't NSFAS, you won't qualify for a NSFAS bursary. NSFAS has however said which possibilities there are should you lose that funding.


A common misconception among students is that having an alternative bursary disqualifies them from receiving the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding. However, what happens if you lose that initial bursary and require financial assistance?

NSFAS provides funding to students who come from poor and working class backgrounds. This is done through NSFAS bursaries and the NSFAS missing middle loan.

Should you lose your other funding, you might be stranded. In this case, NSFAS might be able to help.

If My Non-NSFAS Bursary Is Withdrawn, Can I Still Get NSFAS?

Luckily, if you happen to lose your external funding, NSFAS might still come to your rescue and support your higher education. NSFAS has explained:

A student who receives financial aid from a funder other than NSFAS and loses this financial aid during the academic term and the NSFAS window for applications is not open, is allowed to apply to NSFAS for financial aid through their institution. 

This then means that students remain eligible for NSFAS even if their original bursary is no longer accessible.

NSFAS has clarified that if a student loses external funding due to academic issues, they won't be eligible for NSFAS support. To be eligible for an NSFAS bursary, students must meet the specified criteria set by NSFAS.

NSFAS Eligibility Criteria

  • Passed Grade 9 to 12 to receive NSFAS funding to study at a TVET college and Grade 12 to receive funding to study at a university or TVET college
  • South African citizen
  • All SASSA grant recipients qualifies for funding
  • Household income must be between R0 and R350 000 per annum for bursaries and between R350 001 and R600 000 for a loan
  • Must be studying or planning to study at a public higher education institution

NSFAS bursaries and loans have opened up educational opportunities for millions of students, allowing them to pursue higher education at 26 public universities or 50 TVET Colleges in South Africa. Each year, numerous students apply for NSFAS funding.

Even if a student already has a partial bursary, they can still qualify for NSFAS funding as long as they meet the specified requirements.

NSFAS has made the following clear:

If a student receives a partial bursary from another source, the student and the institution must advise NSFAS of the funding conditions of the new funder within 10 days of receiving the partial bursary,the NSFAS bursary must be reduced, and any excess refunded to NSFAS during the reconciliation process.

In the scenario where a student has been approved for both NSFAS funding and another bursary, it is important for the student to inform NSFAS. NSFAS would then cover the expenses not addressed by the other bursary, and any remaining NSFAS funding should be returned to the organization.

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