For millions of South African students, submitting an NSFAS funding application is one of the first steps they are can take to secure a future through higher education. Due to the fundamental help NSFAS provides to students, one cannot risk an application rejection due to avoidable mistakes. This article provide tips on how to avoid getting your NSFAS funding applications rejected.

    Key Aspects of NSFAS Funding Applications

    When applying for financial aid through NSFAS, it is essential to understand the key components of the application process. This knowledge not only prepares applicants for a smoother application journey but also enhances the likelihood of success. Here are some crucial aspects every potential NSFAS applicant should consider:

    Eligibility Criteria

    Before even beginning the NSFAS funding application, you must ensure you meet the basic eligibility requirements:

    • You must be a South African citizen.
    • Your combined household income should not exceed R350,000 per annum.
    • You must be applying to study or already studying towards a certificate, diploma, or degree at a public university or TVET college in South Africa.
    • You must not have already completed an undergraduate degree or diploma.

    Application Process

    Understanding the application process is critical:

    • Online Applications: NSFAS funding applications must be submitted online via the NSFAS website. You’ll need to create an account, fill in the online application form, and upload the required supporting documents.
    • Manual Applications: In some cases, manual applications are accepted at designated application centers, such as local youth offices or public libraries.

    Supporting Documents

    A successful application must be accompanied by the following essential documents:

    • Certified copy of your South African ID or birth certificate.
    • ID copies of parents, guardian, or spouse.
    • Proof of income of parents, guardian, or spouse (if applicable).
    • Proof of residence.
    • Latest academic results, if you are already studying.

    Key Dates and Deadlines

    Be aware of the application period:

    • NSFAS usually opens applications in September and closes them in January the following year, although these dates can vary each year. It’s crucial to apply within the specified time frame to avoid missing out.


    NSFAS communicates application results through the following channels:

    • SMS and Email: Make sure you provide a valid email address and phone number on your application form to receive updates.
    • MyNSFAS Account: You can track the status of your application through your MyNSFAS account online.

    Appeals Process

    If your NSFAS funding application is unsuccessful, you have the right to appeal:

    • Applicants must submit an appeal through their MyNSFAS account, usually within a set period after receiving the rejection notice. Ensure you provide a detailed reason and supporting documents for the appeal.

    Renewal of Funding

    Existing beneficiaries must reapply annually:

    • NSFAS funding is not automatically renewed. Students must submit progress reports and meet academic performance requirements to qualify for continued funding.

    Top Reasons Why NSFAS Funding Applications Are Rejected

    1. Incomplete or Incorrectly Filled Forms

    Problem: One of the most common reasons for the rejection of NSFAS funding applications is the submission of incomplete or incorrectly filled forms. Minor errors such as missing documents or incorrectly entered personal information can lead to automatic disqualification.

    Solution: Always double-check your NSFAS funding application before submission. Ensure that all required fields are correctly filled and that no required documents are missing. It’s beneficial to have someone else review your application to catch any errors you might have missed.

    2. Missing Documentation

    Problem: Documentation is crucial for the verification of your eligibility for NSFAS funding. Missing any required documents such as ID copies, proof of household income, or academic records can result in a rejected application.

    Solution: Prepare all necessary documents ahead of the NSFAS funding application period. Make sure documents like your identity document, proof of income, and latest academic results are updated and readily available. Scan and save copies of these documents in case you need to resubmit.

    3. Household Income Above Threshold

    Problem: NSFAS funding is designated for students who come from households with a combined annual income of less than R350,000. Applications that report a household income above this threshold are automatically rejected.

    Solution: Ensure that you have accurate and recent proof of your household income for your NSFAS funding application. If your family’s financial situation has changed, such as a reduction in income, update this information in your application.

    4. Academic Performance

    Problem: NSFAS requires students to pass at least 50% of their courses to continue receiving funding. Failing to meet this academic requirement is a common reason for the termination of funding.

    Solution: Focus on your studies and seek academic support if you’re struggling with your coursework. Many educational institutions offer tutoring, study groups, and other resources to help you maintain satisfactory academic performance for your NSFAS funding.

    5. Application Deadlines

    Problem: Missing the application deadline is a guaranteed way to have your NSFAS funding application rejected. NSFAS has strict deadlines that are inflexible.

    Solution: Mark the application period on your calendar and set reminders to apply as early as possible. Early application not only ensures you meet the deadline but also gives you ample time to correct any possible mistakes in your application.

    6. Previous NSFAS Beneficiaries

    Problem: If you have previously benefited from NSFAS funding and did not comply with their requirements, such as failing to sign your NSFAS bursary agreement, your new application might be at risk of rejection.

    Solution: Ensure that all agreements with NSFAS are signed and returned. If you have had issues with NSFAS funding in the past, contact them to resolve these issues before applying again.

    7. Non-Disclosure of Information

    Problem: Failing to disclose required information such as existing bursaries or scholarships can lead to a rejection of your NSFAS funding application.

    Solution: Be transparent with your NSFAS funding application. Disclose any additional funding you are receiving as NSFAS needs to coordinate benefits to maximize the support given to each student.

    Applying for NSFAS funding requires careful attention to detail and a proactive approach to gathering and submitting all required information. By understanding the common pitfalls that lead to NSFAS funding application rejection, you can take practical steps to enhance your chances of securing the financial aid necessary to pursue your academic goals.