On Sunday, the Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, revealed in a statement when 2024 bursary applications at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will be opening. This announcement has seen a bit of a delay as application usually open in August or September of every year.
The 2024 NSFAS applications opening and closing dates have been confirmed as follows:
NSFAS will officially open its application for 2024 funding on the 21 November 2023 and will close on the 31 January 2024.
Why are NSFAS applications so late?
In answering why NSFAS applications are only opening in November, Nzimande said, "The reason for opening in November, is so that we can afford the beneficiary shorter turn around times for decision making which is aligned to our financial eligibility assessment which requires updated SARS information".
He went on to explain that NSFAS was waiting for the SARS tax period to be done which would then enable NSFAS to have the necessary and updated information available during the upcoming NSFAS application season.
NSFAS is engaged in conversation with the department of basic education to improve the application validation processes including verifying parental relationships. All these improvements will ensure that funding decisions are confirmed timeously.
Get Ready To Apply
It's good for applicants to remember that results aren't needed when applying for the first time and to apply on time.
Applicants also need to make sure to provide accurate information particularly parental information when applying so that Home Affairs verification goes smoothly. Incorrect information could lead to NSFAS applications being rejected leading to a lengthy appeals process.
Parental information has provided NSFAS with some issues, with them explaining:
The parental relationship verification has been a huge challenge, where students change their parents’ information for the sake of the bursary. Our partnership with DBE will further strengthen our ability to verify parental relationships.
NSFAS is working to make sure that Sassa applicants receive immediate approval of their NSFAS applications. As soon as NSFAS verifies that they are a Sassa applicant, no documents will be needed.
More NSFAS Application Platforms
Before, NSFAS applications can only be done online. Now, NSFAS is launching a mobile app. This app will be rolled out initially for iPhone operating system (IOs), Android and in due course of HUAWEI devices.
Students will also be able to track their NSFAS application status using WhatsApp on 078 519 8006, and USSD at *120*67327#.