Nov 2021 2nd edition

Apply now for 2022 NSFAS funding

Written by Allison Cooper

Applications for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding for 2022 are now open. The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, says learners and out of school youth from disadvantaged and working-class backgrounds can now apply for funding to study at public universities and technical vocational education and training (TVET) colleges.

Government has categorised students into five cohorts for funding. “We believe these will cover all students who have potential and are in need of funding,” the Minister says.

The categories are:

  • First-time students, who are South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) beneficiaries (cohort 1);
  • Returning students, who are SASSA beneficiaries (cohort 2);
  • First-time entering students who are not SASSA beneficiaries (cohort 3);
  • Returning students, who are not SASSA beneficiaries (cohort 4);
  • Students living with a disability (cohort 5).

Applications are also open to qualifying students who are already enrolled at an institution, but don’t have funding. 

Who qualifies for funding?

  • South African citizens and permanent residents who plan to register, or are already studying, at a public university or TVET college.
  • SASSA grant recipients.
  • Those whose combined household income is not more than R350 000 per year.
  • Persons living with disabilities, with a combined household income of not more than R600 000 per year.

Applicants must submit the correct supporting documents with their application.

These include:

  • A copy of your identity document (ID) or temporary ID. If you use a Smart ID card, a copy of both sides must be provided;
  • Non-SASSA applicants must provide ID copies of their  parents, legal guardians or spouse.
  • Proof of income of the applicant and that of the parent, legal guardian or spouse (where applicable). Non-SASSA recipients must provide their latest payslip (not older three months), Unemployment Insurance Fund letter or appointment or retrenchment letter.

How and where to apply

Students can apply online at Follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Go to and click on the ‘myNSFAS’ tab;
  • Step 2: Create a myNSFAS account;
  • Step 3: Click on the ‘apply’ tab and complete the sections on the screen;
  • Step 4: Upload the required supporting documents, where applicable;
  • Step 5: Click ‘submit’.

If you do not have a digital device or access to the internet, visit your nearest National Youth Development Agency offices or Thusong Centre to apply.

Funding is only offered to students who are financially eligible for NSFAS funding and who obtain a firm place to study, in an approved programme, at a public institution.

Faster application process

While there were concerns that applications opened later than usual this year, the Minister says a new, user-friendly application process and systems have been developed to provide real-time responses to students, without compromising the application validation process.

“The time needed to perfect it meant that applications could not open in September. It was critical that we waited until the system was ready for implementation. The new system will provide real-time funding eligibility decisions for first-time entry students and those linked to SASSA grant funding,” says Minister Nzimande.

These students make up 65% of the cohort. The other 35% of applicants will go through further processing, which may take up to 48 hours for them to receive the outcome of their application.

The Minister has also appointed a Ministerial Task Team (MTT) to look at future student funding policy issues.

“The MTT is working hard at developing policy proposals for a long-term student financial aid policy, that takes into account the comprehensive student financial aid needs of the post-school system.”

Despite the fact that government has increased funding exponentially for students in TVET colleges and universities, the Minister says it remains concerned about categories of students who struggle to afford higher education and the growing levels of student debt. Applications for funding close on 7 January 2022.

For more information, visit or follow on social media at Facebook: National Student Financial Aid Scheme, Twitter: @myNSFAS and Instagram: @myNSFAS

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