NSFAS Application: What Does ‘Funding Eligibility’ Mean?

What Does ‘Funding Eligibility’ Mean In Your NSFAS Application? Funding Eligibility Meaning explained by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). NSFAS funding eligibility refers to whether you meet the requirements to receive financial aid from NSFAS.

What Does ‘Funding Eligibility’ Mean In Your NSFAS Application?

Funding Eligibility in your NSFAS application means that NSFAS has assessed your application and determined you meet their financial criteria for receiving aid. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Financial Check: NSFAS verifies your household income based on what you declared in the application. They often check databases like SARS and Home Affairs to confirm this information.
  • Eligibility Confirmation: If your income falls below the threshold (currently around R350,000 per year), you’ll be considered financially eligible for NSFAS funding.

Check for “Application Approved Funding Eligible” status: This means NSFAS approved you for funding and you’ve been accepted by an institution.

Secure admission to a college/university: Focus on getting accepted by your preferred institution for an NSFAS-funded program.

“The process by which NSFAS determines whether or not an applicant is eligible to receive financial aid, or whether a student is eligible to continue receiving financial aid.” – NSFAS says about funding eligibility meaning

Checking Funding Eligibility – Assessing Financial Eligibility

Funding Eligibility in the context of NSFAS means that the organization is in the process of verifying the financial information provided in your application. This verification typically involves assessing your household’s income status, as declared in your application.

To qualify for funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, the total annual income of your household must typically be below R350,000. NSFAS conducts checks with databases such as SARS and Home Affairs to verify the accuracy of the information provided, including the income levels declared by your parents or guardians.

It’s essential to provide accurate and truthful information in your application, as any discrepancies found during the verification process can lead to the cancellation of funding. In such cases, students may end up owing their university or college the full amount of the funding they received.

Application Approved Funding Eligible

The next message you’ll hopefully receive is “Application Approved Funding Eligible.” This indicates that NSFAS has reviewed and approved your application for funding, confirming that you meet the eligibility criteria. However, it’s important to note that the funds are not disbursed directly to you; instead, they are paid directly to the college or university where you are enrolled. Therefore, the next step is to secure acceptance at a college or university and complete the registration process.

Once you are accepted and registered, NSFAS will transfer the approved funds to the institution to cover your tuition fees and other related expenses. NSFAS funding is highly sought after because it typically covers not only tuition fees but also accommodation, living expenses, and study materials.

While some applicants may be required to upload supporting documents along with their NSFAS bursary application, the majority typically do not need to do so.

NSFAS Terminology & Acronyms And Definitions

Term / Acronym Definition
Academically eligible student Students that are registered on a NSFAS approved qualification at an institution who have satisfied relevant NSFAS academic progression criteria and N+ rules.
Academic progression pathways The progression of a student from one type of qualification that is approved for funding to another qualification that is also approved for funding in terms of a NSFAS approved academic pathway.
Academic Term For University related studies, an academic term equates to an academic year or semester, dependent on the type of academic terms the qualification is composed of. For TVET College related studies, an academic term equates to a year, semester, or trimester, dependent on the type of academic terms the qualification is composed of.
Appeal An appeal is a request submitted by a student whose application for funding was rejected, or whose funding was withdrawn, requesting the NSFAS to review or reconsider his or her eligibility.
Applicant Anyone who has applied for NSFAS financial aid. For the purposes of this document, this includes senior students who may have progressed beyond their first academic term (year, semester, trimester) but were never funded by the NSFAS.
Approved qualification A qualification offered by an institution for which bursaries are available as defined in the APPROVED QUALIFICATIONS section of this document.
Assistive devices Assistive devices are mechanisms that aid students living with disabilities to access learning and teaching resources.
Bursary A form of financial support awarded to a student, that does not need to be repaid, but which may carry other contractual obligations.
Certificate qualification A qualification that has been registered on the NQF, on NQF Level 5, and has a qualification type of Higher Certificate or National Higher Certificate.
Citizen, including permanent residents As per the South African Citizenship Amendment Act (1 of 2010), a citizen by birth is one “who immediately prior to the date of commencement of the South African Citizenship Amendment Act, 2010, was a South African citizen by birth; or who is born in or outside the Republic, one of his or her parents, at the time of his or her birth, being a South African citizen, shall be a South African citizen by birth.”
Continuing Student An eligible student who was funded by the NSFAS in the immediate prior academic term, and who is currently registered at an institution for an approved qualification, and, who continues to be financially and academically eligible, but excludes those students who are moving through an academic progression pathway, or who have achieved their first undergraduate qualification, or who has changed institution types (i.e., shifted from a TVET College to a University or vice versa). This has been differentiated from a returning student, who is a senior student and was not funded by the NSFAS in the immediate prior academic term and needs to re-apply for funding.
Course (University only) A course is a component within a qualification that carries credits towards the qualification. It has these characteristics: (a) It is an identifiable teaching/ learning component that may be undertaken in more than a year, in a year or semester, or shorter period. (b) Student performance in the component is assessed and recorded in the central record system. (c) The component has a unique identifying “course code” which is assigned to it in the institution’s central record system. A course may be a component undertaken as coursework, or as a project, or as a thesis, or as a dissertation, or as a practicum, or as a mixture of such types.
Course pass rate (University only) The course pass rate applies to university students only and refers to the percentage of course credits that a student must pass to remain academically eligible for future NSFAS financial aid.
Course Credits (University only) Course Credits apply to University students only and refer to the level of study. Each level of study equals 120 credits per academic year such that a typical 3-year degree will be 360-credits and a 4-year degree will be 480 credits.
DHET Bursary Scheme A financial aid programme that provides fully subsidised funding for poor and working-class students registered at an institution.
Disability Disability is defined as the loss or elimination of opportunities to take part in the life of the community, equitably with others, encountered by persons; (having physical, sensory, psychological, developmental, learning, neurological or other impairments, which may be permanent, temporary or episodic in nature), thereby causing activity limitations and participation restriction within mainstream society. These barriers may be due to economic, physical/structural, social, attitudinal and/or cultural factors.
Distance TVET college student A TVET College student categorized as a distance learning student by the TVET College and who is enrolled for the minimum number of subjects required, namely 5 out of 7 subjects for NC(v) or 3 out of 4 subjects for Report 191.
Distance university student A university student studying at a non-contact university.
Double-dipping This is when students receive financial aid from NSFAS and from other funders such that they do not require the financial aid from NSFAS, either in full or in part.
Drop out student A student who received financial aid from NSFAS, started a qualification, has yet to attain the qualification and does not hold a current registration to achieve the qualification.
Eligibility assessment The process by which NSFAS determines whether or not an applicant is eligible to receive financial aid, or whether a student is eligible to continue receiving financial aid.
Eligible student A student that is both financially and academically eligible.
Financially eligible applicant Those applicants who qualify for funding in terms of the financial eligibility criteria.
First time applicant An applicant who is applying for NSFAS funding for the first time.
First time entering (FTEN) student This is a student who is applying for academic admission to any University for the first time, either directly from school or other.
First Time Funded This is a student studying at a TVET College and is funded by NSFAS for the very first time.
Full cost of study Means the total cost of study for a student which include registration fees, tuition costs, accommodation, and other permitted allowances related to formal teaching and learning activities, as determined by the criteria contained in this document and subject to limitations.
Funded student A student who has been issued a NSFAS Bursary Agreement following registration at a public University or public TVET College.
Funder Government departments (national, provincial, or local), government agencies, Sector Education and Training Authorities, private companies and philanthropic organisations, etc, that have signed an agreement with NSFAS to distribute funding to students for the funding of their Higher Education or Technical Vocational and Training education.
Household Income The combined annual gross income of the parents (or adoptive parents, spouses or legal guardians, whichever is applicable) of the applicant and the applicant. It includes every form of income, both from the formal and informal sector (e.g., salaries, wages, retirement income, near cash government transfers like food stamps, grants, business incomes and investment gains). In terms of the South African legal framework, biological parents are primarily responsible for the student’s maintenance, which includes the provision of education, of their biological children (including those above the age of 18), irrespective of the relationship between parents or the relationship between parents and their children. Legal guardians, as defined, and adoptive parents bear similar responsibilities. The household income is based on this principle, and makes provision for variations to this rule, within the context of the South African legal framework.
Institution Any University established, deemed to be established or declared as a public University, under the Higher Education Act 101 of 1997, and/or subsequent amendments. Any public Technical and Vocational Education and Training College as established by the Further Education and Training Act 16 of 2006 (replaced the Further Education and Training Act 98 of 1998).
Immediate family members For the purpose of this policy standard, immediate family member means mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, son, daughter, adoptive child, brother, sister; legal guardian, adoptive mother, or adoptive father, of the student.
Impairment Impairment is used to refer to the actual attributes (or lack of attributes), the abnormality of a person, whether in terms of limbs, organs or mechanisms, including psychological disabilities/shortcoming.
Legal Guardian A legal guardian is one which is appointed: 1. By a decision of the High Court as the supreme guardian of a minor child 2. In terms of a will that was written by a sole parent or sole caregiver who passed away.
Loan Agreement Form (LAF) This is the loan agreement documentation between the student and NSFAS for loans provided in terms of the National Credit Act.
National Certificate Vocational A qualification with 120 to 140 minimum credits at levels 2, 3 or 4 of the NQF that will be awarded to students who comply with the national policy requirements of the NC(V).
NSFAS Bursary Agreement (NBA) The written agreement between the student and NSFAS detailing the terms and conditions of the bursary or grant.
NATED (Report 191) Programme A three-year post-school qualification at NQF level 6 with a total of 360 credits, and consisting of a combination of N4, N5 and N6 certificates and a workplace-based learning component of 18 months (Business and Services Studies) or 24 months (Engineering Studies).
National ID South African Identity Document number
Occupational programme A qualification that consists of a minimum of 25 credits associated with a trade, occupation or profession, resulting from work-based learning and consisting of the knowledge practical skills and work experience standards as defined in the Skills Development Act No 97 of 1998, that has been approved for funding by NSFAS.
Permanent Resident An individual who is in possession of a valid Permanent Residency Permit issued by the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa.
Registered student A student registered on an approved qualification at an institution
Returning student A senior student who was not funded by the NSFAS in the immediate prior academic term and needs to re-apply for funding
SASSA recipient An applicant or student who is a recipient of a SASSA grant, or who has been a SASSA grant recipient of the Care Dependency, Child Support and Foster Care grants within the previous three years of applying for financial aid from NSFAS, but excludes those in receipt of the Social Relief of Distress grant, including the R350 special grant as a result of COVID-19
Senior student A student that has been registered at an institution in a previous academic term, whether they have received NSFAS funding previously or not.
TVET College Any Public Technical and Vocational Education and Training College as established by the Further Education and Training Act 16 of 2006 (replaced the Further Education and Training Act 98 of 1998).
Third party data source Refers to any data obtained from third parties to validate data received from applicants, students or institutions.
University Any public University established, deemed to be established or declared as a University, under the Higher Education Act 101 of 1997, and/or subsequent amendments.
Undergraduate qualification Refer to the APPROVED QUALIFICATIONS section of this document

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