New Allowance Funding Allocations for South African Students in 2023

The Department of Higher Education and Training and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme announce new allowance funding allocations for the 2023 academic year, providing financial support for eligible students.

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) have revealed new allowance funding allocations for the 2023 academic year, aimed at supporting South African students. According to Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, NSFAS is projected to spend R47.6 billion on funding allocation in 2023. The allowances have been adjusted for inflation within the budget allocated to NSFAS.

NSFAS has introduced an allowance system to cover most of the extra costs associated with pursuing higher education, such as accommodation and buying student materials. Students who qualify for the government bursary will be eligible to receive funding for study-related expenses, known as a student allowance. These allowances are paid monthly, either directly to the student via their NSFAS Wallet or via the institution.

University students will receive a R5,460 learning material allowance per year and an accommodation allowance of R61,500 a year. Additionally, a 7% increase in the number of students qualifying for funding is projected for the coming academic year. Distance university students and students studying less than 60 course credits will qualify for learning materials allowances only. Full-time distance university students will qualify for a personal care allowance of R3,045 per academic year.

A living allowance of R15,750 will be provided to all NSFAS-funded students at universities not accommodated in catered residences. Students may either qualify for a travel allowance or the accommodation allowance. All institution-owned, leased, or private accommodation will be capped at R45,000 per academic year. Private accommodation allowances must be paid directly to private accommodation service providers by NSFAS or institutions.

To ensure suitable living conditions, all student accommodation will be accredited using the Policy on the Minimum Norms and Standards For Student Housing (MNSFSH). Any accommodation that does not meet the MNSFSH criteria will undergo a verification process. Students residing with immediate family or relatives will qualify for a travel allowance of up to R7,875 in 2023.

All university students qualify for a learning material allowance, set at a maximum of R5,460 for the 2023 academic year. Students receiving financial aid from NSFAS for the first time must purchase a digital learning device in that year of study if they don’t already have one. Allowances for students in distance education programs are calculated based on the number of courses registered, up to a maximum of R5,460.