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How Long Does NSFAS Pay For You?



How Long Does NSFAS Pay For You?

How Long Does NSFAS Pay For You? NSFAS, short for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, is a critical lifeline for many South African students pursuing higher education. Understanding the duration of NSFAS funding is essential for students planning their academic journey and financial commitments. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the question: How long does NSFAS pay for you? Let’s explore the timelines, eligibility criteria, and important considerations associated with NSFAS funding.

How Long Does NSFAS Pay For You?

Because NSFAS funds students throughout their studies, they do not need to apply every semester or year. Student funding is approved for the entire academic year, as well as subsequent years, if the student meets the academic progression requirements.

NSFAS Funding Duration

NSFAS provides financial assistance to eligible students for the duration of their undergraduate studies. This support typically covers the minimum number of years required to complete a degree program, ranging from three to six years, depending on the course and institution.

Duration Based on Degree Program:

  • Three-Year Degrees: For programs such as Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc), or Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), NSFAS generally covers the full duration of the course, which is typically three years.
  • Four-Year Degrees: Certain programs, like Bachelor of Education (BEd) or Bachelor of Engineering (BEng), extend over four years. NSFAS funding accommodates the additional year, providing support throughout the program’s duration.
  • Extended Programs: Students enrolled in extended programs, such as Medicine or Architecture, may receive NSFAS funding for the extended duration of their studies, which could span up to six years or more.
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Factors Influencing NSFAS Funding Duration:

  • Academic Performance: NSFAS funding is subject to academic progress and satisfactory completion of each academic year. Students must maintain the required academic standards to continue receiving funding for the specified duration.
  • Course Changes or Transfers: Changing courses or institutions may impact NSFAS funding duration. It’s crucial to consult with NSFAS authorities before making any significant changes to avoid disruptions in funding.
  • Appeals and Special Circumstances: In certain cases, students facing exceptional circumstances or challenges may appeal for extended funding duration. NSFAS evaluates such appeals on a case-by-case basis, considering the merit and validity of the circumstances presented.

Postgraduate Funding Considerations:

NSFAS primarily focuses on undergraduate funding. However, limited funding opportunities may be available for postgraduate studies, depending on the field of study and funding availability. Postgraduate funding typically comes with specific eligibility criteria and application procedures distinct from undergraduate funding.


NSFAS plays a pivotal role in facilitating access to higher education for thousands of South African students. The duration of NSFAS funding varies based on factors such as the degree program, academic performance, and any changes in course or institution. By understanding these nuances and staying informed about NSFAS policies, students can make informed decisions regarding their educational journey and financial commitments.

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