Here's 2024 NSFAS Allowances For Students With Disabilities


Every year, numerous new students enter the tertiary education system, including those with disabilities. NSFAS has put in place a thorough plan to aid these students, ensuring they enjoy the same educational opportunities as their peers.


The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has officially outlined its funding conditions and eligibility criteria for the year 2024. This information is crucial in determining who will benefit from the extensive financial support offered by the bursary scheme.

NSFAS's funding is comprehensive, encompassing not only tuition and registration fees but also various allowances designed to alleviate additional financial burdens for students pursuing their tertiary education qualifications.

This inclusive funding approach extends to students with disabilities, who not only receive regular funding like their peers but also benefit from specific allowances tailored to their unique needs.

Living and Learning Material Allowances

Individuals with disabilities are eligible for living allowances, which include a meal allowance amounting to R20,000 per academic year. Additionally, university students with disabilities qualify for a learning materials allowance of R6,000 per academic year, as the TVET college allowance already covers the costs of learning materials in that sector.

In cases where students observe discrepancies in their learning material allowances, they have the option to submit a motivation to NSFAS for consideration and approval.

Assistive Devices

Assistive Devices refer to external tools specifically designed, created, or modified to aid individuals in performing specific tasks. For many people with disabilities, these devices play a crucial role in facilitating daily activities and fostering active and productive participation in community life.

Similarly, students striving to complete their studies often rely on assistive devices to overcome challenges and ensure their academic success.

The device must be relevant to the student’s Disability and must be in respect of devices that are required to facilitate access to teaching and learning resources. 

NSFAS offers an assistive devices allowance, capped at R50,000 as a one-time provision. It's important to note that students are eligible for only one assistive device throughout the entire duration of their studies, according to the guidelines provided by the financial aid scheme.

Nevertheless, in situations where a student's needs evolve and require an additional assistive device, NSFAS may consider such requests, provided that the total amount allocated for assistive devices does not surpass the specified allowance over the entire study period.

Repairs and Maintenance of Assistive Devices

NSFAS extends a one-time allowance of R2,000 for the repair and maintenance of assistive devices. It's crucial to emphasize that the damage or breakage must be attributed to normal wear and tear, and not a result of neglect, abuse, or carelessness on the part of the student.

This provision underscores the importance of responsible use and proper care to qualify for the repair and maintenance assistance.

Students with disabilities do not automatically qualify for the allowance for assistive devices, or the repairs and maintenance thereof. The allowances are only granted if the student application for these allowances is approved, and all conditions and criteria are met as set out in this policy standard.

Examples Of Assistive Devices

Certainly, assistive devices cater to a wide range of disabilities, each addressing specific needs. Here are examples of assistive devices for various disabilities:

Physical Disabilities (Movement, Mobility, Locomotor Impairments):

  1. Wheelchairs
  2. Recorders (Tetra & Quadriplegic)
  3. Boots (Footwear)
  4. Walking Sticks
  5. Crutches
  6. Callipers
  7. Ferrules
  8. Walking Frames
  9. Writing Splints
  10. Ankle Braces and Splints
  11. Foot and Leg Orthotics

Visual Impairments or Blindness:

  1. Perkins Braille
  2. Recorders/Digital Recorders
  3. Specialized Digital Devices (not standard digital devices/laptops)
  4. Spectacles/Magnifiers (Refraction only - Single vision, Bifocals, Fixed tints)

These devices play a crucial role in enhancing the independence and functionality of individuals with diverse disabilities, allowing them to overcome specific challenges in their daily lives and educational pursuits.

Individuals with hearing impairments, whether hard of hearing or deaf, can find assistance through the use of hearing aids and ear moulds, along with the utilization of assistive listening devices (ALDs).

Conditions like learning disabilities and communication disorders such as ADD, ADHD, spectrum disorders, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and dysphasia might necessitate the use of digital voice recorders, fluency devices, Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices designed for individuals with autism, and other specific aids as required.

Human Support

In some cases, students may require human support to facilitate their access to educational resources. University students have the potential to qualify for such support if it is recommended by a Registered Medical Professional, approved by the institution's Disability Unit, and sanctioned by NSFAS.

This personalized support is designed to meet specific needs and is limited to R50,000 per academic year for university students. For TVET College students, the disbursement of human support allowances will be managed by the respective colleges.

Crucially, NSFAS will only cover the costs of human support if it is recommended by an HPCSA registered professional and if the institution verifies and supports the necessity of such support.

Examples of human support encompass guide dogs for individuals with visual impairments, scribes, note-takers, caregivers, individual reading support, tutors, and sign language interpreters.

Assessment Costs

The identification of a student's support needs is crucial for securing the relevant allowances. Upon request from the Disability Unit, students have the potential to qualify for an assessment cost allowance.

This one-time allowance, capped at R2,000, is intended to cover the costs related to assessing their requirements for human support or assistive devices.

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