Despite the education sector being in a state of flux at the moment, South Africa’s minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande has opened applications for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for 2021.

The applications opened on 3rd August and will close on 30th November 2020.

As with previous years, students can apply for NSFAS funding via the myNSFAS Portal. According to the government, there have been minor enhancements to the site’s user experience and additional security features have been added.

Considering the state of the world at the moment, NSFAS is also changing things up slightly.

Rather than asking applicants to sign and upload a consent form to verify their identity, applicants will now simply have to digitally sign an electronic consent form. Applicants will also have to agree to the terms and conditions of the funding electronically. Seeing as much of the country is still under lockdown, we feel this is a good move.

However, you will still need to submit copies of supporting documents such as your ID, parent or guardian’s proof of income; parent or guardian’s ID copies; and Annexure A for applicants with disability.

NSFAS says that it verifies information received by applicants with the Department of Home Affairs.

Students are able to apply for funding from NSFAS whether they plan to attend a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college or university.

In order to qualify for funding from NSFAS you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • South African Citizen
  • Combined annual household income of R350 000 per annum or less
  • For students with disabilities, a combined annual household income of R600 000 or less

For students who require assistance with applying for funding, the National Youth Development Agency will open its centres from 1st September to help students.

“While great work for 2021 application cycle is underway, I want to reassure our current beneficiaries that the department, along with NSFAS, is working tirelessly ensuring that the 2020 academic year is saved and concluded to usher in the new academic year,” Nzimande said in a statement.

The minister has urged South African students not to leave applications to the last minute.

[Source – SA Government]