NSFAS Releases Updated 2023 Funding List


Every year thousands of higher education students apply for funding from the government’s bursary scheme. These applicants must meet specific requirements and criteria in order to be funded by the bursary scheme. 


The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) provides funding to thousands of disadvantaged students studying at higher education institutions in the country.

In a statement released on Wednesday (5 July 2023) the bursary scheme gave some updates on issues and concerns raised by students and other stakeholders.

NSFAS writes:

On the 15 June 2023, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) issued a circular to all institutions, student bodies as well as to students individually via SMS stating the following.

Application Statuses

Since the 2023 application window closed, several applicants have raised concerns about the status of their application.

Some have claimed their statuses suddenly changed from ‘approved’ applicants to ‘rejected’. Meanwhile, students have also noted that their applications are stuck on the ‘pending decisions’ status.

Responding to concerns, the bursary scheme affirmed that students whose statuses were on ‘pending decisions’ have now been assessed and the outcome is reflected on the profile on the NSFAS portal.

Students who are funded will reflect on the funding list whilst those who are rejected can lodge appeals with correct supporting documentation.

“It should be noted that if the appeal option button is not available on the student's profile it means that the application has been declined and closed due to reasons that cannot be appealed,” they add.

NSFAS says that the updated funding list as of 15 June 2023 is available on the NSFAS portal for institutions to view.

Update on Appeals

Regarding students concerns on appeals the bursary scheme noted that it is continuously processing the appeals.

NSFAS adds, “As and when the appeal is approved, it will be updated on the funding list and the student funding outcome will be reflected on their student portal.”

Applicants are reminded that If an appeal is rejected that will also be communicated to students on the portal.

Furthermore, students have also been urged to submit the relevant supporting documents with their appeal applicant as a huge number of students that have appealed but did not submit the relevant supporting documents.

NSFAS cannot conclude these appeals without supporting documentation. We will be issuing SMS to those students to submit the relevant documents within 10 working days before we can close their appeal. We urge institutions to encourage students to submit these documents.

Funding Eligibility

All beneficiaries at all levels or years of study are required to meet the NSFAS financial and academic eligibility criteria to receive funding.

Once students are approved to have their studies funded by NSFAS, there are requirements they’ll need to keep up during your studies to ensure that you stay funded by NSFAS. 

After you've been approved by NSFAS, you will then be expected to:

  • Comply with all academic requirements as set by institutions
  • Attend and participate in lectures, tutorials and academic support programmes as required by the institution
  • Complete all set assignments and/or tasks as required in terms of the due performance requirements of the Institution
  • Undergo all tests and examinations (written and oral) as required in terms of the due performance requirements of the institution
  • First time entering students (FTEN) will need to achieve a pass rate of 50% for their previous academic term. 
  • Continuing university students must achieve a pass rate of 55% for their previous academic term.
  • A continuing student that is defined as an N+2 student in the Higher Education Institution N+ rule must meet the 50% pass criteria in order to study at a University.

The bursary warns that If at any stage it is discovered that a students eligibility criteria have been compromised, corrective action will be taken immediately, including removing from the funded list those who may have supplied falsified or misleading information.

As much as management appreciates the sensitivity and moral considerations for funding poor and destitute families; the adverse but correct outcomes of stringent application of NSFAS information vetting protocols would, naturally, result in unintended and adverse results against funds approved and advanced to students based on either fraudulent, misleading and contradictory supporting documentation.

The bursary scheme noted that there is an urgent need to educate students of the legal implications of unethical dealings with the institution, which have the potential to carry serious financial crime legal sanctions against perpetrators.

NSFAS says it has partnered with other state institutions such as the South African Revenue Service, the Department of Home Affairs and others who will continue to assess the accuracy, completeness and consistency of information received from applicants by cross checking it with relevant national citizen databases. 

To find out more about the NSFAS bursary, applications and the latest changes, head to our NSFAS page.


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