Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande has encouraged learners and students needing financial aid to submit their applications early.
“It is very important for students, parents and guardians to know that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will not open another window for new applications after this November 30 cut-off date – as doing so will delay the process of finalising funding lists for 2018,” Minister Nzimande said in a statement on Monday.
NSFAS does not require exam results for the application process, so learners are urged to apply before their exams start so that they know that their application has been submitted.
Applications for financial aid for the next year were opened in August for learners who wish to study at a public higher education institution or a technical and vocational education and training college.
Minister Nzimande has called on all public college and university students to take advantage of NSFAS application centres, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) local offices, as well as universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges Student Support Services Units at their disposal to provide drop-off services for applications.
“If applicants go to the NYDA offices to drop off application forms, they must ensure that they receive a reference number for future enquiries regarding their applications.
“Whilst the application process for funding to NSFAS is open for both online and paper-based forms, students are encouraged to rather make use of the online application platform as this is faster and more efficient, and they will receive their reference number immediately,” the Department of Higher Education and Training said.
Learners and current students at universities and TVET colleges who were not funded in prior years are urged to complete their applications early and ahead of the 30 November 2017 cut-off date.
Minister Nzimande has emphasised the need for students to make sure that their applications are completed timeously and contain all the required information.
As at 9 October 2017, NSFAS had already received 80 494 valid applications.
Students are advised that only applications submitted online or via the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), as well as through participating universities and colleges would be accepted.
Students need to make sure that their applications include all the requisite supporting documentations including certified copies of their and their parents IDs, or an unabridged birth certificate.
The department said NSFAS has partnered with Departments of Home Affairs and Basic Education to ensure a swift and thorough data processing and verification to identify any anomalies against the country’s national population registry and matric examination database.
Although not a requirement by NSFAS, applicants are advised to submit both an ID and unabridged birth certificate to speed up the verification process.
The 2017 NSFAS funded students that will be progressing to the next academic level in 2018 need not re-apply for funding.
“However, students who are currently enrolled and were not funded in 2017 – or have never received NSFAS funding, and whose family circumstances have changed and believe that they qualify for NSFAS funding – should apply.
“Moving forward we encourage all our young people to start applying for their smart identification cards in time for the 2019 enrolment period as this would make the processing of applications even more efficient due to completeness of all individuals’ records,” the Minister said.