Do You Have To Pay Back NSFAS Bursary? (2024)

Are you considering applying for an NSFAS bursary? Are you wondering about the repayment obligations associated with this financial aid?

No, you will not be required to pay back an NSFAS Bursary after you have graduated or landed a job. In this article, we will delve deeper into answering the question of whether you have to pay back an NSFAS bursary.

Do You Need to Pay Back an NSFAS Bursary?

Like all students, one of those questions is whether you have to pay back your bursary or loan. The answer is NO, NSFAS bursaries do not have to be repaid. The money that NSFAS gives you is not a loan, but rather a grant to help with your higher education costs

Unlike loans, bursaries are awarded based on financial need and academic merit, with the understanding that recipients will not be burdened with repayment obligations after completing their studies.

What is NSFAS?

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is a South African government program aimed at providing financial assistance to students who are unable to afford tertiary education. It offers bursaries, loans, and other forms of financial aid to eligible applicants, enabling them to pursue their academic dreams without undue financial strain.

NSFAS primarily provides bursaries, which are non-repayable financial awards granted to qualifying students. Bursaries cover various expenses related to higher education, such as tuition fees, accommodation, prescribed textbooks, and study materials.

Eligibility for NSFAS Bursaries

To be eligible for an NSFAS bursary, you must meet certain criteria, including:

– Being a South African citizen or permanent resident
– Coming from a household with a combined annual income below a certain threshold
– Enrolling in an accredited public higher education institution or TVET college
– Meeting the academic requirements set by the institution

Conditions for Retaining the NSFAS Bursary

While you don’t have to repay an NSFAS bursary, it is important to fulfil certain obligations to retain your bursary throughout your academic journey. These obligations may include:

– Maintaining satisfactory academic performance and progressing in your studies
– Adhering to the rules and regulations of the educational institution
– Providing regular updates on your academic progress and any changes in personal circumstances

How to Apply for an NSFAS Bursary

If you are interested in applying for an NSFAS bursary, here are the steps to follow:

a. Gather the Required Documents

Before beginning your application, make sure you have the necessary documents, which may include proof of income, identification documents, academic transcripts, and a valid email address.

b. Visit the NSFAS Website

Head over to the official NSFAS website and create an account if you don’t already have one. The online portal provides a user-friendly interface where you can complete your application.

c. Complete the Application Form

Fill in the application form with accurate details about yourself, your household income, the educational institution you plan to attend, and any other required information. Take your time to ensure the information provided is correct and up to date.

d. Submit the Application

Once you have completed the application form, review it to ensure all information is accurate. Then, submit your application through the online portal. Keep a copy of your submission confirmation for your records.

Additional Funding Options

While NSFAS bursaries can provide significant financial support, it’s worth considering additional funding options to supplement your educational expenses. Here are a few possibilities:

– Scholarships: Many institutions and organizations offer scholarships based on academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, or specific fields of study.
– Part-time Work: Explore part-time job opportunities to help cover some of your expenses while studying.
– Personal Savings: If possible, consider setting aside some money from your savings to contribute to your education.

Remember, each option has its own eligibility requirements and application processes, so be sure to research and plan accordingly.

Renewing Your NSFAS Bursary

To ensure ongoing financial support throughout your academic program, it is crucial to renew your NSFAS bursary annually. Here’s what you need to know:

a. Timely Application

Pay attention to the renewal application deadlines provided by NSFAS. Submit your renewal application within the specified timeframe to avoid any disruptions in your funding.

b. Academic Performance

Maintaining satisfactory academic performance is essential for bursary renewal. Most bursaries require you to achieve a minimum average grade or pass a specific number of credits to remain eligible. Stay focused on your studies and strive to meet the academic requirements set by your educational institution.

c. Reporting Changes

Inform NSFAS promptly if there are any changes in your circumstances, such as a change in your household income or contact details. Keeping your information up to date ensures that you receive the necessary support and avoids any potential issues.

Exceptions and Repayment Obligations

While NSFAS bursaries are generally non-repayable, there are certain situations where repayment may be required. These exceptions include:

a. Changing Programs or Institutions

If you decide to switch programs or transfer to a different educational institution during your studies, there may be repayment obligations associated with the portion of the bursary already disbursed. It is important to consult NSFAS and understand the specific rules and conditions regarding program or institution changes.

b. Failing to Meet Obligations

Failure to meet the obligations outlined by NSFAS, such as maintaining satisfactory academic progress or providing required updates, may result in the conversion of your bursary into a loan. In such cases, you would be required to repay the converted amount according to the terms and conditions provided by NSFAS.

Seeking Support and Guidance

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your NSFAS bursary, don’t hesitate to seek support and guidance. Reach out to NSFAS directly through their helpline or visit their website for additional information and resources. Your educational institution may also have dedicated offices or advisors to assist with bursary-related inquiries.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about NSFAS Bursaries

1. Can I apply for an NSFAS bursary if I am already enrolled in a tertiary institution?

Yes, you can apply for an NSFAS bursary even if you are already enrolled in a tertiary institution. However, make sure to check the specific application deadlines and requirements outlined by NSFAS.

2. Are there any age restrictions for applying for an NSFAS bursary?

There are no specific age restrictions for applying for an NSFAS bursary. As long as you meet the eligibility criteria, including being a South African citizen or permanent resident and enrolling in an accredited public higher education institution or TVET college, you can apply for the bursary.

3. Can I receive an NSFAS bursary for postgraduate studies?

NSFAS primarily provides bursaries for undergraduate studies. However, they do offer limited funding opportunities for postgraduate studies in specific fields such as the sciences and engineering. It is recommended to check with NSFAS for the latest information regarding postgraduate funding options.

4. What happens if I fail a course or module while on an NSFAS bursary?

Failing a course or module can have implications for your NSFAS bursary. Maintaining satisfactory academic progress is a requirement for bursary renewal. If you fail a course or module, it is important to consult with your educational institution and NSFAS to understand the consequences and potential support available.

5. Can I transfer my NSFAS bursary from one institution to another?

Yes, it is possible to transfer your NSFAS bursary from one institution to another. However, there may be specific conditions and procedures to follow. It is crucial to contact NSFAS and your new institution to understand the requirements and ensure a smooth transfer process.

6. What should I do if my financial circumstances change during my studies?

If your financial circumstances change during your studies, such as a significant change in household income, it is important to inform NSFAS as soon as possible. They may require updated information and documentation to reassess your eligibility and determine any necessary adjustments to your bursary.

7. Are there any penalties for withdrawing from my studies while on an NSFAS bursary?

Withdrawing from your studies can have consequences for your NSFAS bursary. Depending on the circumstances and timing of the withdrawal, you may be required to repay a portion or the full amount of the bursary. It is crucial to contact NSFAS and your educational institution to understand the specific rules and potential repayment obligations.

8. How will I receive the funds if I am awarded an NSFAS bursary?

If you are awarded an NSFAS bursary, the funds will be disbursed directly to your educational institution. The institution will manage the allocation of the funds to cover your tuition fees, accommodation, prescribed textbooks, and other approved expenses.



In conclusion, if you are fortunate enough to receive an NSFAS bursary, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you do not have to repay it. The bursary is designed to alleviate financial burdens and provide opportunities for students to focus on their education without worrying about the cost. Remember, while there are no repayment obligations, it is crucial to meet the conditions for retaining the bursary throughout your studies. Embrace the gift of an NSFAS bursary and make the most of your educational journey.

Understanding the intricacies of an NSFAS bursary is crucial for a smooth and successful educational journey. By renewing your bursary, fulfilling obligations, and staying informed about exceptions and repayment obligations, you can maximize the benefits of this financial aid program. Remember, support is available should you require guidance or assistance along the way. Embrace the opportunities provided by an NSFAS bursary and embark on a rewarding path towards academic achievement.

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