The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is a South African government-funded financial aid scheme that provides bursaries and loans to students who cannot afford to pay for their studies at public universities and TVET colleges.
While being accepted to receive NSFAS funding can offer much needed financial relief, going on to receive other funding offers can create a bit of a dilemma.
Luckily, NSFAS remains an option to those who have been funded by the scheme before, or those who were previously funded by alternate bursary providers.
As long as you're not a recipient of two bursaries simultaneously in the same year that you've applied for, you'll be able to apply for and receive financial aid for your tertiary education journey.
You may apply for NSFAS funding if you are a South African citizen studying at a public university or TVET college. If you have been registered and started studying before 2018, your combined household income must not be more than R122 000 per annum for you to qualify.
However, if you were registered in or after 2018 for the first time, your combined household income must not be more than R350 000 per year. If you have funding for the year already, you will need to abandon that funding if you want a NSFAS bursary instead.
Most importantly, you cannot have two bursaries at the same time.
If you have been approved for funding from NSFAS, you cannot accept a second bursary offer from a different bursary provider. However, you can apply at the same time; only when you receive offers, do you need to choose only one.
You may be able to receive a combined loan from another financial aid source, but there will most likely be conditions attached. For example, there may be specific academic requirements you need to meet in order to continue receiving funding.