The NSFAS programme is the South African government’s response to the problem of poor students not having access to higher education. This scheme which was initiated by former President Jacob Zuma is designed to provide funding for students who come from poor and working-class families, in order to enable them to complete their education.
This scheme has already become very popular; in a recent year under review, it funded more than 300 000 applications for funding. However, about 65 000 were also rejected. As many students now know, rejection is not the end of the road as far as getting funding from the NSFAS is concerned. Applicants have the right to appeal the decision.
If your application is refused you can appeal to NSFAS to reconsider. This is how to do so:
How to Write NSFAS Appeal Letter
Go to the NSFAS website, www.nsfas.org.za, and download an NSFAS appeal form. You must then print out and fill the form by hand.
Please fill this form in all capitals.
The form should be accompanied by a letter requesting the board to reconsider their decision not to give you financial aid. This form can be handwritten.
The form should then be submitted to the Financial Aid Office at your institution.
When NSFAS Appeals are Disregarded
In many cases, the board has already made a decision, and so the appeal has to be convincing. Keep in mind that the NSFAS programme is intended for students who are serious about their education, but who are in danger of not continuing due to financial constraints. Therefore, appeals will not be considered if it is found that the students do not have a real need for funding (that is if your family household income exceeds the threshold)
Appeals will not be considered if it is found that the student is not of South African nationality.
Appeals will also not be considered if it is found that the student has not provided correct information, or if the uploaded documents are found to have been tampered with in any way.
Appeals will not be considered if the student’s performances are too far below average; this can either be a sign of the student not being serious or that the student is unable to cope with the mental demands of higher education.
NSFAS Appeal Letter May Only be Considered on the Following Grounds:
When Proof of Income is provided showing that the student is in real need of funding.
Loss of a bursary/sponsor in the current academic cycle. (in this case, the student should provide some documented proof, and should be accompanied by a fully completed NSFAS application form);
Prior academic performance has been satisfactory. Even if the current performance is not up to expectation, you may appeal, and provide supporting information and documentation that provides details of the reasons that affected performance. Financial trouble can be cited as one of the reasons.
Failure to meet academic criteria or financial commitments, due to medical condition(s) or death of an immediate family member. ( in this case, you must provide supporting information and documentation);
When students had a gap year in NSFAS funding, or when students failed to register previously.
When more than one student from the same household is enrolled at a university/TVET college. This may become a serious financial burden on the family, and so the student can appeal to the NSFAS.
Applying for an approved post-graduate qualification. The NSFAS programme only encourages students to apply for funding if they are seeking postgraduate qualification in certain courses. (See section F on the appeal form for the list.)
Review Your Personal Information
Despite having very good grounds for appealing for NSFAS funding, there are many reasons why your application could be turned down. You may have made typographical errors when filling the form online, or you may have uploaded the wrong documentation into the wrong boxes.
You can double-check your personal information. Please visit the official website www.nsfas.org.za and then click on “myNsfas account“.
Next, you log in with your personal username and password.
The system will log you in, and then display your dashboard. You may check your personal information by clicking on the “My personal details” tab. The system will then display your personal information, section by section.
If you have uploaded the correct documents, but they are not clear and legible, there is still a very high probability that your application will be rejected.
Please remember that you are not to leave any spaces blank. Fill in all your personal information as they are required of you.
You may make changes as necessary, so as to give yourself a higher chance of getting approved.
After Reviewing Your Information:
Students who have reviewed their personal information, and appealed to the board of the NSFAS are encouraged to log in on the myNSFAS student portal, also called the self-service portal www.nsfas.org.za to check their application status update. For those lucky ones who have been approved for funding, their status will now display: ‘Approved for funding subject to registration’, and for those who have been rejected for funding, the status will now show ‘Application unsuccessful’.
As the NSFAS continues to gain more popularity, so is the pressure on the programme increasing. This explains why so many students who do not meet the requirements even slightly get their applications rejected. If a student has appealed to the NSFAS board for reconsideration and still does not get a positive response, perhaps it would be best to seek funding from other avenues.
There are several other private and government-affiliated organizations that offer bursaries, scholarships, and grants to students in South Africa. we have previously published the full list of these donor organizations. What you must now do is make a meticulous search about each donor so as to understand the procedures involved, so that you can get your application approved.