Applications for financial aid for all learners who wish to enter the post-school system and students who do not have financial assistance to continue their studies in the 2024 academic year will officially open on 21 November 2023.
In a statement issued on Monday, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) said the applications for 2024 funding will open on 21 November 2023 and close on 31 January 2024.
The reason for opening applications in November is so that NSFAS can afford the beneficiary shorter turn-around times for decision making, which is aligned to the financial eligibility assessment which requires updated South African Revenue Service (SARS) information.
“NSFAS is awaiting SARS completion of its tax period and to enable NSFAS to have the necessary and updated information available during our application season. We encourage all students who wish to study in the post school education and training sector higher education and training space to ensure that they apply on time.
“It is also important that students note that they don’t need results when they are entering post school education and training for the first time. Furthermore, NSFAS is engaged in conversation with the Department of Basic Education to improve the application validation processes including verifying parental relationships and all these improvements will ensure that funding decisions are confirmed timeously,” NSFAS said.
NSFAS urged students to provide accurate information, particularly parental information, when applying so that when validations occur with Home Affairs, students can be easily funded and not be subjected to appeal processes to prove parental relationship.
The parental relationship verification has been a challenge where students change their parents’ information for the sake of the bursary.
The entity said the partnership with the Department of Basic Education will further strengthen its ability to verify parental relationships.
The NSFAS Board also announced that it will continue to make immediate funding decisions for new applicant South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) beneficiaries. Immediate funding decisions mean that as soon as the applicants submit their applications they will receive an outcome.
“The moment you are verified as a SASSA beneficiary, we will not require any supporting documents. In fact, all new applicants will not require supporting documents, except for learners with disabilities.
“All rejected applicants will be able appeal and it is important that students submit the appropriate supporting documents,” NSFAS explained.
Among the new features for the 2024 application period include the NSFAS mobile application which will be rolled out initially for iPhone operating system (IOs), Android, and in due course of HUAWEI devices.
The student app will include a biometric capability which will be rolled out later in the year.
Students will also be able to track their application statuses and funding via whatsapp on 078 519 8006, and USSD at *120*67327#.
Meanwhile, NSFAS announced that its Board, in consultation with the Department of Higher Education and Training is finalising the funding guidelines for the academic year 2024.
The scheme said the guidelines will be announced on 21 November 2023, together with the opening of the application season for the academic year 2024. – SAnews.gov.za