Another chance for students to apply for NSFAS funding

Friday, December 16, 2016

Cape Town – Students who did not apply for funding for the 2017 academic year by the November 30 deadline will have another opportunity to apply.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) CEO, Msulwa Daca, has announced that a new window will be opened in January for students to apply for funding to study at a university or Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college next year after he received submissions for an extension from various stakeholders.

“After considering all the submissions by stakeholders, NSFAS executive management decided that it was best to open the second and last application window of application for financial aid,” Daca said at a media briefing in Cape Town on Thursday.

NSFAS initially invited applications from 1 August to 30 November 2016.

The new window will run from 9 January.

“Applications for students who wish to study at TVET colleges will open from 9 January 2017 and close on 14 February 2017, and this is meant to coincide with the release of matric results.

“Applications for students who wish to study at universities will open from 9 January 2017 and close on 20 January 2017,” he said.

Daca said those who submitted their applications by the 30 November 2016 deadline will not be affected by the new window.

He said NSFAS is still evaluating and processing all applications from students who already submitted their applications in the first phase, and that communication will be sent to students on the outcomes of their application from 5 January 2017.

“For those who will submit applications from 9 January 2017, the outcome of applications will be communicated from 1 February 2017. 

“We are calling on all young people who missed the first application phase this year and need NSFAS financial support to take advantage of this second opportunity and submit their applications for financial assistance as soon as possible.

“Online applications can be done on the NSFAS website, while manual applications can be sent via fax, post or email, as with the recent application phase.

“This is now time to start collating all your supporting documents so that the applications process is smoother,” he said.

NSFAS receives record number of on-line applications

Daca said while students used to apply for funding at their institutions of higher learning, a new model has since been introduced where students now submit their applications directly to the NSFAS headquarters in Cape Town.

He said NSFAS has been inundated with applications from students ever since it invited applications on 1 August and that the NSFAS website became one of the most visited websites ever.

“We can confirm that, as we stopped counting applications by close of business [on Wednesday], a total of 233 470 applications were received.

“This number includes both applications made through our website and the manual or paper applications form,” he said.

Daca said 129 382 applications we completed and submitted using the myNSFAS tab on the NSFAS website, while 104 088 were manual applications that were submitted together by fax, post or by email.

New system to pay for allowances 

Daca said, meanwhile, that NSFAS will introduce a new cell phone banking system for students to pay for meals, travelling, books and accommodation.

“NSFAS is rolling out the implementation of sBux, which is a cell phone banking solution that we have introduced to distribute funds directly to individual students for these allowances.

“Through sBux, a student will be able to access funds on his or her mobile phone, using a security pin and password to access [their] personal account,” he said.

Sstudents who qualify for NSFAS loans or bursaries will receive allowances in the form of cell phone vouchers.

While NSFAS pays tuition fees directly to institutions, we will give allowances for these expenses directly to the students via their cell phones, using sBux.

“Students will be able to spend these vouchers at NSFAS-registered merchants, who have signed up on the sBux programme,” he said.

More than 3 334 merchant outlets have signed onto the sBux programme. These merchants include Shoprite, Boxer, Checkers, Spar, and USave outlets, all of which allow students to redeem their sBux vouchers and buy groceries.

“Students can also purchase books at registered book merchants using the same process,” Daca said. – SAnews.gov.za