Understanding NSFAS Requirements: A Guide for South African Students

Navigate the NSFAS application process with confidence by understanding the eligibility criteria, required documents, and common mistakes to avoid. Discover tips for a successful application in our comprehensive guide.


The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) offers a lifeline for many South African students who cannot afford tertiary education. To increase your chances of receiving this essential financial aid, it’s crucial to understand the NSFAS requirements and navigate the application process confidently. This comprehensive guide aims to help you understand the eligibility criteria, required documents, and common mistakes to avoid when applying for NSFAS.

Eligibility Criteria for NSFAS

Before submitting your NSFAS application, ensure you meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • A. Citizenship and residency requirements: You must be a South African citizen or permanent resident.
  • B. Enrollment in a public university or TVET college: You must be accepted or enrolled at a public university or Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college.
  • C. Financial eligibility criteria: Your combined household income must not exceed the threshold set by NSFAS, which is subject to change yearly.
  • D. Qualifying courses and qualifications: Ensure that your chosen course or qualification is approved for NSFAS funding. Consult the NSFAS website or your university’s financial aid office for further guidance.

Required Documents for NSFAS Application

Gather the following documents before starting your NSFAS application:

  • A. Certified copies of your South African ID or birth certificate
  • B. Proof of household income, such as payslips, bank statements, or affidavits
  • C. Parent or guardian’s ID and death certificate (if applicable)
  • D. A signed consent form, allowing NSFAS to verify your household income E. Proof of disability (if applicable)

The NSFAS Application Process

Follow these steps to apply for NSFAS funding:

  • A. Create a myNSFAS account on the NSFAS website.
  • B. Complete the online application form, ensuring all information is accurate and up-to-date.
  • C. Upload the required documents in the correct formats.
  • D. Submit your application and make a note of your application reference number.
  • E. Track your application status on the NSFAS website, using your myNSFAS account.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for NSFAS

To improve your chances of success, avoid these common application mistakes:

  • A. Missing application deadlines: Keep track of the deadlines and submit your application well in advance.
  • B. Providing incorrect or incomplete information: Double-check your application form before submitting it.
  • C. Not uploading all required documents: Ensure you provide all necessary supporting documents in the correct format.
  • D. Failing to meet the financial eligibility criteria: Understand the income threshold before applying.

Tips for a Successful NSFAS Application

Increase your chances of securing NSFAS funding by following these tips:

  • A. Start the application process early to avoid last-minute stress.
  • B. Double-check all information and documents for accuracy and completeness.
  • C. Seek guidance from your school’s financial aid office or NSFAS support if you have questions.
  • D. Keep track of your application status and follow up if necessary.


NSFAS funding can significantly impact the lives of South African students, enabling them to achieve their academic goals and build a brighter future. Understanding the NSFAS requirements is crucial for a successful application. You can improve your chances of securing financial aid by meeting the eligibility criteria, providing the required documents, and avoiding common mistakes.