Who Is Exempted From NSFAS’ Household Income Threshold



Thousands of students benefit form the comprehensive funding provided by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. To receive this comprehensive funding, students must meet eligibility criteria.


The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) provides bursaries to students from poor and working-class backgrounds. These bursaries allow students to obtain a tertiary education qualification. 

NSFAS will pay a student's tuition and registration fees. Funded students are also provided with a living allowance, a learning material allowance and an accommodation allowance. 

This funding ensures that thousands of students can attend a tertiary education institution and obtain a qualification that they otherwise would not have been able to if they did not receive a NSFAS bursary. 

To qualify for the comprehensive bursaries provided by NSFAS, students must be South African citizens, enrolled in an approved course of study at a public tertiary education institution and not exceed the household income threshold. 

The household income threshold for able-bodied students is R350,000 while students living with a disability may have a household income not exceeding R600,000. 

NSFAS spokesperson Slumezi Skosana explained that no student applying for funding will be exempt from meeting the household income threshold. This includes cases where two students are attending tertiary education institutions. 

Skosana was asked whether a household with twins enrolled at public tertiary education institutions may have a household income threshold higher than R350,000.

The spokesperson explained that there is no compromise when it comes to the household income threshold. These students will be rejected as they will be outside the threshold. 

At this stage, there is no compromise on the household income threshold. Everyone who falls above the threshold will not be funded.

Students whose applications are rejected by NSFAS can submit an appeal. Skosana adds that an Independent tribunal evaluates these cases, however, the case involving the twin students would not be considered as they fall within the missing middle category of students. 

Financial Aid For Missing Middle Students

Skosana said the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) is developing its Comprehensive Student Financial Aid model. 

DHET Minister Blade Nzimande said a provision will be made to assist students who fall within the missing middle category in the funding model. However, these students will not receive bursaries. 

Nzimande explained that the comprehensive financial aid model could incorporate loan funding options. Engagements with banks have taken place about a possible loan scheme supported by government guarantees.


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