What to do if your NSFAS application is rejected: A guide to the next steps

Even if your NSFAS application is initially rejected, you can appeal the decision and potentially secure funding to achieve your academic dreams.

I know it can be a real blow to find out that your NSFAS application for the 2023 academic year wasn’t successful. It’s totally understandable to feel discouraged and unsure about what to do next. But here’s the thing – this setback doesn’t have to be the end of your academic journey. You’ve got options, and I’m here to help you explore them!

First off, let’s talk about why your application might have been rejected. There could be a few reasons, like incomplete or incorrect forms, not quite meeting the academic requirements, or missing some important supporting documents. But don’t worry – identifying the problem is the first step towards finding a solution.

Once you’ve figured out what went wrong, it’s time to take action. The NSFAS appeals process is there for a reason, and it’s your chance to make your case and show them why you deserve that funding. It might seem daunting, but trust me, you’ve got this!

The key is to approach the appeals process with a positive attitude and a willingness to put in the work. Double-check your application, make sure you’ve got all the necessary documents, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. There are people and resources available to support you through this process.

And here’s the thing – even if your appeal isn’t successful, it’s not the end of the road. There are other funding options out there, like bursaries, scholarships, and student loans. It might take some extra research and effort, but where there’s a will, there’s a way!

At the end of the day, your dreams of getting a tertiary education are worth fighting for. You’ve got the smarts, the determination, and the potential to make it happen. So don’t let an NSFAS rejection hold you back. Take a deep breath, regroup, and keep pushing forward.

In this article, we’ll break down the NSFAS appeals process and give you some practical tips for increasing your chances of success. We’ll also explore some alternative funding options, so you can keep chasing your academic goals no matter what.

So, chin up, future graduate! You’ve got this. Let’s dive in and figure out how to turn that NSFAS rejection into an opportunity for growth and success. Your education is worth it, and so are you!

Reasons for Rejection

NSFAS applications can be rejected for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Academic Ineligibility: One of the most common reasons for NSFAS application rejection is academic ineligibility. This means that the applicant does not meet the academic requirements for the funding.
  • Regional Ineligibility: NSFAS funding is only available to South African citizens or permanent residents. If the applicant is not a South African citizen or permanent resident, their application will be rejected.
  • Proof of Financial Need: NSFAS funding is intended for students who cannot afford to pay for their studies. If the applicant’s financial situation does not meet the NSFAS criteria, their application will be rejected.
  • Incorrect Information: If the applicant provides inaccurate or incomplete information, their application will be rejected.
  • Late Application: NSFAS has strict application deadlines. If the applicant submits their application after the deadline, they will be rejected.

If an applicant’s application is rejected, they will be notified of the reason. It is essential to carefully review the reason for rejection and determine if an appeal is possible. If an appeal is possible, the applicant should follow the appropriate process.

Appealing the Decision

If your NSFAS application has been rejected, you may still be eligible for funding. You have the right to appeal the decision if you believe there has been an error or if you have new information that may affect the outcome of your application. Here are the steps to follow when appealing the decision:

  • Visit the NSFAS website and download the appeal form.
  • Complete the form with all the necessary information.
  • Attach any supporting documents that may help your case, such as a letter of recommendation or a statement of financial need.
  • Submit the form and supporting documents to ApplicationReview@NSFAS.org.za.

It is important to note that you only have a limited time to appeal the decision. Check the deadline for appeals on the NSFAS website and submit your appeal before the deadline.

Once your appeal has been submitted, NSFAS will review your application and make a decision. You will be notified of the outcome of your appeal via email or SMS. If your appeal is successful, you will receive funding for your studies. If your appeal is unsuccessful, you may still have other options for financing, such as scholarships or bursaries.

Remember to stay positive and persistent throughout the appeal process. Remember that NSFAS receives many applications and appeals, so it may take some time to receive a response. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact NSFAS for assistance.

Alternative Funding Options

If your NSFAS application has been rejected, don’t worry; other funding options are available. Here are a few alternative funding options you can consider:

  • Private loans: Private loans from banks or other financial institutions can be an option. However, remember that the interest rates on personal loans are often higher than those of student loans. Additionally, private loans may require a co-signer or collateral and may not offer the same repayment options as student loans.
  • Scholarships and bursaries: Scholarships and bursaries are awards that need not be repaid. They are often based on academic merit or financial need. You can search for scholarships and bursaries online or through your school’s office of financial assistance.
  • Part-time work: If you can balance work and school, a part-time job can help you pay for your education. Look for job opportunities on campus or in the surrounding area.
  • Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding is a way to raise money from many people, often through online platforms. You can create a crowdfunding campaign to help cover your education costs. However, remember that crowdfunding may not be a reliable funding source.

Remember, it’s essential to carefully consider all your options before deciding. Be sure to research each option thoroughly and weigh the pros and cons before deciding.


Having your NSFAS application rejected can be a stressful experience, but it’s not the end of the road. You can take several steps to appeal the decision and increase your chances of receiving funding. The most important thing is to act quickly and gather all the necessary documentation to support your appeal.

Remember to check the NSFAS website regularly for updates on the appeals process and to ensure you meet all the relevant deadlines. You can also contact the NSFAS contact centre for assistance with your appeal.

Other funding sources, such as bursaries, scholarships, and student loans, are worth considering. These options may require additional effort and research, but they can provide valuable financial support for your studies.

Finally, don’t give up hope. Receiving a rejection letter can be discouraging, but it’s important to remember that many other students are in the same position. By taking proactive steps and exploring all your options, you can increase your chances of securing the funding you need to achieve your academic goals.