Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr. Blade Nzimande, on Monday officially opened the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) 2021 application cycle.
This year, the NSFAS application cycle will run for a period of four months starting from Monday, 3 August until the closing date of 30 November 2020.
NSFAS applications are open for students from poor and working-class backgrounds who wish to further their studies at any public Technical and Vocational Education and Training college (TVET) or university.
To be eligible for NSFAS funding, applicants must be a South African citizen, come from a family with a combined annual household income of not more than R350 000 per annum, and for students with a disability, the combined annual household is an income of not more than R600 000 per annum.
“In the current academic year, NSFAS has funded over 700 000 students, 248 242 at TVET colleges and 481 339 at universities (students with registrations data), this is a 20% increase from the previous year when comparing registration data received in the same period 2019 versus 2020,” said Nzimande.
The Minister said NSFAS accounts for 40% of the undergraduate population at universities and 70% at TVET colleges.
Applications for 2021 funding will be done online via myNSFAS portal as per previous years.
The NSFAS portal has undergone minor enhancements and changes informed by the lessons learned in the previous application cycles. Some of the enhancements are for user experience, while some are security features.
New applicants need a copy of their ID or birth certificate to register and create a profile on the myNSFAS portal. Applicants with existing accounts need to log into their accounts, they are only allowed to create one profile.
The applicant will be required to give consent for personal information verification with NSFAS third parties. An applicant will not proceed to create a profile without giving this consent. This feature allows NSFAS to conduct a three-step verification process with the Department of Home Affairs where an ID number will be linked to the name and surname of the applicant and parent details.
In response to the current status quo due to the COVID-19 pandemic, applicants will not be required to submit or upload the consent form, however, an applicant will need to accept the electronic consent form, along with the terms and conditions for funding.
The application system will still require a student to submit their supporting documents, which comprise an ID copy, parent/guardian proof of income, parent/guardian ID copies and/or Annexure A for applicants with a disability.
“While great work for 2021 application cycle is underway, I want to reassure our current beneficiaries that the department, along with NSFAS, is working tirelessly ensuring that the 2020 academic year is saved and concluded to usher in the new academic year,” said the Minister.
He urged qualifying students to make use of the opportunity and apply for funding on time.
NSFAS has strengthened its partnership with the Department of Basic Education to increase its reachability, specifically for learners in Grade 10 to 12. – SAnews.gov.za