The National Student Financial Aid Fund (NSFAS) has urged prospective students wishing to study at tertiary institutions in the country to apply on time for financial assistance before the November 30 deadline.
The scheme says it anticipates an increased volume of applications from financially pressed students as a result of the economic hardships brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
NSFAS director Dr Randall Carolissen has also announced the opening of applications for Grade 9 to 12 learners, as well as young people out of school wishing to further their studies at TVET colleges or universities.
Carolissen noted as at the end of August, NSFAS had received more than 160 536 applications from students across the country in need of financial backing, less than a month after applications opened on August 3.
“During the first month, on average, NSFAS has been receiving more than 5000 applications a day, with the number going as high as 6000 during the last days of August. To date over 188 733 applications have been submitted,” he indicated.
The scheme currently takes care of almost 500 000 students, with the majority of beneficiaries studying at TVET colleges.
Carolissen said the NSFAS continuously works to provide easy and free access to information by forging and retaining relationships with stakeholder partnerships. These partnerships assist in providing a customised link between the applicant and NSFAS during the application cycle and beyond.
One of the fund’s stakeholders, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) assists applicants to use their facilities as application centres, free of charge.
The NYDA centres in nine provinces of South Africa offer a variety of services to students and out of school youth.
The centres will from September 14 be fully utilised as NSFAS application centres from Monday to Friday.
Carolissen said the partnership entered into with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) would further increase the fund’s footprint and reachability in schools, specifically those learners in Grade 10 to 12.
To achieve this, the DBE will link the NSFAS to provinces and district education departments and also provide database of National Teachers’ Centres which will assist with applications.
“Applications are submitted online via myNSFAS portal. New applicants need a copy of their ID document or birth certificate to register and create a profile on the myNSFAS portal. Applicants with existing accounts need to log into their accounts, you’re only allowed to create one profile,” explained the director.
He added NSFAS anticipates a high volume in applications leading up to the closing date due to the recent ‘economic suffocation’ brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Prospective applicants are urged to apply on time before the closing date of November 30, 2020. Applications are submitted online via a smartphone, personal computer, or by utilising applications centre of NSFAS partners.”
To apply, students will need an ID document or birth certificate, IDs of parents, guardian, spouse, or death certificate where applicable.
Also needed is the applicant’s proof of income not older than three months, parent or guardian, or spouse’s pay advice or letter of employment.
For applicants with a disability, they should provide a disability annexure form which can be downloaded from the NSFAS’s website.
Carolissen cautioned against including Sassa slips as proof of income, saying this cannot be included as a household income.