Matriculants hoping to gain entry into higher education institutions throughout South Africa have welcomed the news of the opening of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) application lines.

Application for the financial aid scheme opened online on 1 September and other forms of application were officially launched by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, on 2 September.

Minister Nzimande avails funding for NSFAS

Nzimande, who was accompanied by his deputy, Buti Manamela, and Director General Gwebs Qonde, held a media briefing in Johannesburg, to announce the opening of the applications for 2020 funding.

“It is with great pleasure that I am able to announce that the 2020 National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) online applications for funding were opened on 1 September. I have decided to approve a second phase of administration from August 2019 to August 2020. Dr Randall Carolissen has agreed to continue as the administrator to fulfil the responsibilities of management, governance and administration of NSFAS during this period,” Nzimande said.

He confirmed that government has set aside more than R80 billion for the next three years to ensure that prospective students from poor and working-class families with a combined household income of R350 000 per year have access to higher education and training.

“This is a massive investment in student support and an important policy of government to
support and transform our higher education and training system and society,” Nzimande
said.

To be eligible for NSFAS funding for university and TVET college studies, applicants should meet the following criteria to which includes the applicant being a South African citizen, intend to enrol at any of the 26 public universities, or 50 TVET colleges in 2020. They should also come from a family with a combined annual household income of not more than R350 000 per year, or in the case of an applicant with a disability, of up to R600 000 per year.

“I would like to urge all aspiring students to ensure that while they apply for funding to
NSFAS, they have also submitted the necessary applications to universities and TVET colleges. I would like to urge young people aspiring to attend our public TVET colleges and universities from 2020 to utilise the online applications system and other access points,
to apply on time for funding, to ensure that decisions can be made timeously,” Nzimande said.

NSFAS applications can be done online through the myNSFAS portal www.nsfas.org.za, where students can submit their applications using their smartphones. If you are on the Vodacom or MTN network, accessing the website will be free of charge.

The department has also embarked on a Make A Difference Campaign, an initiate of NSFAS
to drive the 2020 application public awareness. Nzimande said: “The initiative recognises that every one of us, with a smartphone or device or form of connectivity, can contribute towards creating access to higher education and student funding for the underprivileged communities. We are asking all South Africans to make their smartphones available to assist students to apply for NSFAS. That way, we will all be making a difference.

“Our NSFAS online application is as simple as one, two, three. It takes only five minutes to apply using a cellphone or computer. We can all Make A Difference, if we assist each other to apply online.”