NSFAS provides financial aid to students from poor and working-class families. However, there are rules for when you're funded by NSFAS. One is the N+2 rule.
The N+2 rule means that students only have N+2 years to finish a degree. “N” is the minimum number of years allocated to complete a qualification (i.e. record time). The “+2” refers to the extra two years that a student may need to complete the qualification (making the maximum time).
It would then refer to the number of years a student should be enrolled at a university. The maximum is 5 years if you exceed the 5 years you are no longer eligible for funding .
For example: where a qualification is three years, the university will allow you to complete it within a five-year period, with the extra two years being the [+2].
It is important to further note that, the N+2 rule is not based on the number of years that a student has been funded, but on the number of years that the student has been registered for tertiary study at any public university in South Africa, regardless of institution change.
When NSFAS states the reason for your unsuccessful funding application as: ‘you have exceeded the N+2 rule’, this means you have been studying longer than the minimum allocated time for your as well as the extra two years you have been given to complete your qualification.
NSFAS is however sympathetic towards students. If students have exceeded the number of years allowed for funding but only require a few courses/modules to complete their qualification, they can appeal to NSFAS as well as speak to the financial aid officers at their respective institutions and they could possibly be funded.
NSFAS has said that it is unfair for students to be funded for a very long time as this would leave NSFAS to be incapable of funding less new students and taking away those opportunities of new students who are entering the system.