The 2021 National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) cycle opened on August 3, 2020. Students have until November 30, 2020 to apply. The Daily Vox team rounds up what you need to know.
Read our Nsfas 2020 guide:
How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the system?
With the COVID-19 pandemic, applicants will not be required to submit or upload the consent form. Applicants need to accept the electronic consent form, along with the terms and conditions for funding. Though the application system will still require a student to submit their supporting documents, which comprise their own ID copy; parent/guardian proof of income; parent/guardian IDcopies; and/or Annexure A for applicants with disability.
When will application results be communicated?
Application results will be communicated to all applicants once NSFAS has received confirmation from the institution that an academic offer has been made to you. This will be communicated to you before the start of the academic year via SMS and email to the cell phone numbers or email addresses provided by you when you applied.
Lockdown’s effect on the payment of NSFAS
According to Nsfas, the funding scheme remains fully operational during this period, their business continuity plan continues to ensure that uninterrupted funding to students. Allowances as well as tuition has been disbursed as per normal terms.
If students are at home with no access to internet, what provisions are being made to ensure they don’t miss the deadlines
Nsfas told The Daily Vox, the funding scheme continues providing easy accessibility, reachability, and free access to information. The National Youth Development Agency centres will be fully operational and accessible to applicants. In regard to current students at TVET colleges and universities, NSFAS is in the final stages of appointing a service provider for digital devices to support learning of students in 2020 during the lockdown and when they return to campuses.
Other innovations Nsfas is introducing
NSFAS is working on a Virtual Outreach project. The project is an interactive live streaming session, where a user can embark on a virtual tour of NSFAS products and services, virtual exhibition simulation, real time engagement virtual interface, watch application demonstration on how to apply, and live stream events.
If the current academic year is not completed, what will this mean for students on NSFAS?
Nzimande announced the 2020 academic year will be completed in early 2021. This will mean a later start to the 2021 academic year for many students and a readjustment of the 2021 academic calendar. NSFAS funded students will be covered should the academic year overlap to 2021.
What is the average time NSFAS takes to finalise payments to students for accommodations and meals?
When NSFAS has received registration data from all institutions, funding is made available immediately. Funds are transferred to universities on a monthly basis for allowances. It is to be noted that all universities agreed to administer direct funds of allowances to students, meaning that NSFAS transfers funds to universities then universities transfer these funds directly to their students.
Who qualifies for Nsfas
Nsfas funding is available for any of the 26 public universities or 50 technical vocational and educational training. (TVET) To be eligible to receive Nsfas funding, applicants need to be a South African citizen; intend to enrol at any of the public universities or TVET colleges in 2020.
How to get in touch with Nsfas
Students can get in touch with NSFAS via the myNSFAS Online Self-Service Portal which can be accessed via the website or via the NSFAS Contact Centre which has a toll free number 0800 067 327. Alternatively, they are on social media on Twitter @MyNSFAS or Facebook as National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
What the minister says
“While great work for the 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 Minister Nzimande.