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NSFAS fee free higher education: Meaning, Who Should apply, Who should not apply

As a student you can apply for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) to pay for course fees and living costs. Depending on where you want to study in the South Africa, and your personal circumstances, you may be eligible for free  higher education, too.

Here’s is everything you need to know about NSFAS fee free higher education:

What does fee free higher education mean?
  • If you are a first-time entering student, and your application for NSFAS funding is approved, NSFAS will pay your student fees to study at any South African universities and TVET Colleges.
  • If you are an existing NSFAS funded student, your NSFAS loan will be converted to a grant (bursary) that does not need to be re-paid to NSFAS.
  • If you are an existing student but are not a NSFAS funded student, you will need to pay your own student fees.
  • Although the combined annual household income threshold to qualify for NSFAS assistance has been increased from R122 000 to R350 000, fee free higher education only applies to new, first time entering students (not returning students) in 2018 / 2019.
​What is a combined gross annual household income?
  • This is the total income earned by the student and his or her direct family (spouse, mother, father or legal guardian) in the form of wages, salaries, grants, pensions or other sources of income, including rental or business income.
  • The gross combined annual household income (income before deductions) may not exceed R350 000 per annum.
Who should apply?
  • If you did not apply for the 2018 NSFAS funding and you are a first time entering student for an undergraduate qualification with a firm offer of space based on their final Grade 12 results. The student must identify him/herself to the university as coming from a family earning a combined gross household income of up to R350 000 per annum.
  • Once the relevant information, including the certified ID copies of your legal guardians, parents or spouses and the certified copies of proof of income have been provided by the student to the Financial Aid Office and financial eligibility has been confirmed, the student will be funded.
Who should not apply for fee free higher education?
  • Students whose family has combined annual household income is more than R350 000 per annum.
  • Students who have already applied for and qualify for NSFAS funding for the 2018 / 2019 academic year.
  • Students who have previously received NSFAS funding or who qualify for NSFAS funding for the 2018/2019 academic year.
  • Students who have previously registered for any formal qualification