Will NSFAS Hand Out Book Vouchers?

Tertiary studies require students to purchase textbooks which can be quite expensive. This may lead students to wonder if they will receive book vouchers to cover these costs.

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Students who are in need of financial assistance to fund their studies may apply for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) bursary. These students need to meet the set criteria and apply to a public university or TVET College in South Africa. 

NSFAS covers the cost of registration, accommodation, tuition and certain few living expenses. 

Previously the bursary would provide students with book vouchers to help them purchase any learning materials necessary to complete their modules.

However, due to institutions moving to online learning NSFAS has decided to no longer provide book vouchers.

NSFAS provides the following other reasons why the vouchers are no longer available.

  • Students were becoming targets of voucher scams.
  • There were commercial interests by merchants providing services to students at a fee using vouchers. 
  • Many students were trading the book vouchers for cash outside many supermarkets. 
  • The voucher system was very limited to selected merchants who monopolised the student market.
  • These vouchers did not provide students with the financial freedom on where to purchase books, including second-hand retailers. 
  • The book allowance had been increasingly extended to a learning materials allowance that included laptops and tablets. 

NSFAS states that the request to change the book voucher to cash was one of the demands made by the student leadership in South Africa, as part of their input in the policy governing the tertiary education student funding.

Click here to visit the NSFAS website for more information.

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