Will NSFAS Pay For My UNISA Course?


The National Student Financial Aid Scheme, commonly known as NSFAS, is a government bursary which is available to underprivileged South African students who are looking to study at a public university or TVET College.


Tertiary education is very expensive and many students require funding to be able to pursue their dream qualifications, thus NSFAS provides the necessary financial support to allow students to embark on their tertiary education journeys.

So will NSFAS pay for a course done at the University of South Africa (Unisa)?

The answer is yes they do.

Even though Unisa is unlike traditional universities NSFAS does provide funding for students who plan to study there. NSFAS provides funding for registration, tuition and allowances. However, the amounts of the various allowances allocated to students at Unisa are slightly different than other universities, this is due to the difference in teaching methods.

NSFAS funded students at Unisa will receive the following:

  • Learning Material Allowance: this is calculated based on the number of modules the student has been registered for. Unisa students will receive R600 per module for the first four modules and a R5200 once off amount for five modules to ten modules. This allowance is to be used for textbooks and other learning materials needed to complete their studies.
  • Living Allowances: this is paid to students who are registered for ten or more modules.
  • Incidental Allowance: R290 is paid every month for 10 months to students who are registered for ten modules or more for any small expenses that arise for these students.

NSFAS will also pay for your tuition and registration fees.

NSFAS provides funding for students’ registration at Unisa. The following applies if you are registering:

  • First-time NSFAS applicants: Please ensure that you are temporarily registered during Unisa’s registration period while waiting for NSFAS funding confirmation. If your NSFAS application is declined or delayed by close of the registration period, you will be expected to find alternative funding before your registration will be activated.
  • Returning NSFAS students who were funded in the year before but have not yet completed their qualification: Please ensure that you are temporarily registered during Unisa’s registration period while waiting for NSFAS funding confirmation for the 2021 academic year.
  • Returning NSFAS students who received funding the year before, have been declined for funding for the next year and have appealed the decision: Please pay the minimum registration fee while you wait for the NSFAS appeal decision if you chose to do so.

So if your NSFAS application has been provisionally approved then you do not need to pay the minimum registration fee. Your registration will be automatically activated based on NSFAS funding confirmation received by Unisa.

All students funded by NSFAS who have paid the minimum registration amount to activate their registration will be refunded once NSFAS has confirmed successful processing of registration data to Unisa.

For more information on NSFAS funding at Unisa click here. 

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