NSFAS Student Loan Review 2024

The NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) is the primary student loan administrator in South Africa, managing a budget of […]

NSFAS Student Loan

The NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) is the primary student loan administrator in South Africa, managing a budget of R41.9 billion for the fiscal year 2024. This budget represents a decrease from R47 billion in the previous fiscal year.

The NSFAS budget reduction resulted from a 10% cut by the treasury, leading to a R5.5 billion decrease in funding. This reduction is expected to affect approximately 87,000 students. Nonetheless, NSFAS has pledged to boost its budget by R8.1 billion in 2025.

The NSFAS Student Loan program aims to support previously disadvantaged individuals who lack the financial means to pursue higher education in South Africa.

Who Can Apply For NSFAS

  • All South African citizens are eligible for NSFAS funding.
  • SASSA grant recipients qualify for funding.
  • Applicants with a combined household income of not more than R350,000 per annum are eligible.
  • Persons with disabilities can qualify if their combined household income does not exceed R600,000 per annum.
  • Students who commenced their studies before 2018 and have a household income of not more than R122,000 per annum are also eligible.

NSFAS Allowance 2024

NSFAS projects an average cost of R63,935.00 per student. The organization offers various allowances to students, including the following:

For University Students:

  • Accommodation costs are based on actual university charges, with private accommodation capped at university residence rates.
  • Transport expenses within a 40 km radius from the institution are covered up to R7,500 per annum.
  • A living allowance of R15,000 per annum is provided.
  • Book allowances amount to R5,200 per annum.
  • Students in catered residences receive an incidental/personal care allowance of R2,900 per annum.

For TVET Students:

  • Accommodation in urban areas is covered up to R24,000 per annum.
  • Accommodation in peri-urban areas is covered up to R18,900 per annum.
  • Accommodation in rural areas is covered up to R15,750 per annum.
  • Transport expenses within a 40 km radius from the institution are covered up to R7,350 per annum.
  • A transport allowance of R7,000 per annum is provided.
  • An incidental/personal care allowance of R2,900 per annum is given to all TVET students.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Do I have to pay NSFAS back? 

No, because NSFAS was converted to a bursary in 2018, there is no need to repay it. Those who used NSFAS to fund their education prior to 2018 must repay NSFAS because it was a loan at the time.

Does NSFAS have an age limit? 

NSFAS doesn’t have an age limit, therefore, anyone who is a South African can apply for NSFAS bursary. 

Who can’t get financed by NSFAS? 

NSFAS cannot finance the following individuals:

  • Students with a combined household income of more than R350,000.00, 
  • Students who have completed a previous Qualification. 
  • Foreign students, and
  • Students who have already applied for NSFAS, qualified for NSFAS, received funding. 

How much is the NSFAS allowance? 

NSFAS has the following allowances available for students holding an NSFAS bursary or loan:

  • R2,900.00 per year personal care allowance accessible monthly. 
  • R7,500.00 per year transport allowance and the allowance is paid monthly. 
  • R15,000.00 per year living allowance and the allowance is paid monthly. 
  • R7,500.00 per year study material allowance and the allowance is paid monthly. 

Which universities are funded by NSFAS bursary? 

NSFAS is accepted in 25 public universities in South Africa, these include:

  1. Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  2. Central University of Technology
  3. Durban University of Technology
  4. Mangosuthu University of Technology
  5. Monash University
  6. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  7. North West University
  8. Rhodes University
  9. Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
  10. Stellenbosch University
  11. Tshwane University of Technology
  12. University of Cape Town
  13. University of Fort Hare
  14. University of Johannesburg
  15. University of Kwazulu Natal
  16. University of Limpopo
  17. University of Mpumalanga
  18. University of Pretoria
  19. University of South Africa
  20. University of the Free State
  21. University of the Western Cape
  22. University of the Witwatersrand
  23. University of Zululand
  24. Vaal University of Technology
  25. Walter Sisulu University

Which colleges are funded by NSFAS? 

NSFAS is accepted in 50 TVET colleges in South Africa and they include:

  1. Boland College
  2. Buffalo City College
  3. Capricorn College
  4. Central Johannesburg College
  5. Coastal KZN College
  6. College of Cape Town
  7. Eastcape Midlands College
  8. Ehlanzeni College
  9. Ekurhuleni East College
  10. Ekurhuleni West College
  11. Elangeni College
  12. Esayidi College
  13. Ethekwini College
  14. False Bay College
  15. Gert Sibande College
  16. Goldfields TVET College 
  17. Ikhala College
  18. Ingwe College
  19. King Hintsa College
  20. King Sabata Dalindyebo College
  21. Letaba College
  22. Lephalale College
  23. Lovedale College
  24. Majuba College
  25. Maluti TVET College 
  26. Mnambithi College
  27. Mopani South East TVET College
  28. Motheo TVET College 
  29. Mthashana TVET College 
  30. Nkangala College
  31. Northern Cape Rural College
  32. Northern Cape Urban College
  33. Northlink College
  34. Orbit College
  35. Port Elizabeth College
  36. Sedibeng TVET College 
  37. Sekhukhune College
  38. South Cape College
  39. South West Gauteng College
  40. Taletso TVET College 
  41. Thekwini TVET College 
  42. Tshwane North College
  43. Tshwane South College
  44. Umfolozi College
  45. Umgungundlovu College
  46. Vhembe College
  47. Vuselela College
  48. Waterberg College
  49. West Coast College
  50. West College for TVET


For many years, NSFAS has been the largest donor to South Africa’s tertiary education budget. The bursary include some of the biggest benefits that some student bank loans do not provide. As a result, any South African attending a postsecondary institution, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, should consider applying for an NSFAS bursary.

Except for those who had a student loan before 2018, since NSFAS is now a bursary, there is no need to repay the bursary. Students can also take care of additional things other than tuition fees now that NSFAS has funding available for allowances. The bursary can now cover housing, food, and textbooks, making school stress-free for individuals coming from low-income families.