Undergraduate Bursaries & Loans
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NSFAS FAQs

What is the new DHET Bursary Scheme?

On 16 December 2017, the President announced that government would be introducing “fully subsidised free higher education and training for poor and working class South Africans” and that this would be provided through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to first year students in 2018.
In order to give effect to the President’s announcement, the current DHET General Fund for poor South African students to access university education administered by NSFAS, has been strengthened, extended and converted into a bursary scheme for poor and working class South Africans. The DHET Bursary Scheme will be phased in over a period of five years starting in 2018.

What is a first time entrant (FTEN) into the university system?

An FTEN is a person who has never been registered at any university in the system before, and is entering the university at an undergraduate level for the first time and for their first undergraduate qualification.
This person may have studied at a TVET college and been supported for that qualification before.
There is no age restriction on being an FTEN student. Anyone with the required academic background who is admitted to study in a public higher education institution and meets the criteria for financial assistance will receive funding.


Who will be eligible for funding through the Bursary Scheme?

From 2018 onwards, prospective South African FTEN university students who have received a firm offer of a space at, or confirmation of admission into, a public higher education institution and who meet the criteria for financial assistance as coming from a “poor and working class” family, will be eligible for funding.

Prospective students must be South African citizens to be eligible.

“Poor and working class” means that the prospective student comes from a family with a gross household income of up to R350 000 per annum.


What will be covered by the bursary?

All eligible students will be provided with a bursary that covers the actual cost of their tuition, plus a NSFAS determined allowance for prescribed learning materials.
The actual cost of tuition means the tuition fee for the specific programme that the student is registered for at an institution; these tuition fees differ depending on the field of study (e.g. engineering, medicine, art, history, etc.) and the institution attended.


What is meant by ‘subsidised accommodation and travel and/or subsistence’?

DHET bursary students may be eligible for subsidised accommodation and living costs including meals.
If a student is eligible, this will be awarded as part of the bursary.
Subsidised accommodation and subsistence refers to the following: government provides the cost of accommodation, meals and basic living requirements capped at a specific amount for those who require it based on the policy implemented at an institutional level.
Accommodation will be capped at defined institutional accommodation rates. Where meals are not included in the cost of accommodation, a separate standard allowance (determined by NSFAS) will be made available to cover food and basic necessities required to support the students’ studies. Accommodation will be provided in terms of the university housing policy.


What are the conditions attached to accepting a bursary?

If a prospective student qualifies for a bursary, they will have to sign a contract with binding conditions.
Accepting DHET bursary funding will not require a beneficiary to pay back the funds in monetary terms. However, it does require that the beneficiary meets and maintains certain academic conditions/criteria, as well as service requirements for the duration of the study period, as well as a commitment to the country over the longer term.
Any graduate funded through the DHET Bursary scheme who wishes to emigrate to live in another country will be required to pay back the funds before they leave the country.


 

If you have any other enquiries, please refer to the FAQ's received from NSFAS DHET. Read more FAQs on expanded NSFAS and bursary scheme_ Final 9 January 2018 (002).pdf