Students are eligible for NSFAS funding on the basis of two main criteria:
Are they progressing sufficiently well academically (in other words, did they pass more than 50% of the subjects registered for at the beginning of the year)?
Are they financially needy as assessed by the NSFAS means test?
Students who have studied for more years than NSFAS will fund will not receive NSFAS funding (the N+2 rule). There is a difference between “eligible” and “qualify” – students can be eligible for funding (in other words, meet the criteria) but only qualify for the funding once the award has been offered (earned) – qualifying for NSFAS funding is dependent on how much funding has been allocated to the university. Being eligible for NSFAS funding does not guarantee NSFAS funding.
If you are successful in your application for NSFAS financial aid, you will need to enter into a loan agreement with NSFAS, which the WSU Student Financial Aid Office will assist you with.
NSFAS loans are interest-free while you are at university, and when you finish your studies, graduate from WSU and get a job where you are earning more than R30 000 a year, you will need to start repaying your loan.
Each NSFAS loan agreement form has a set of terms and conditions, and you need to understand these before you decide to accept the loan.
Signing each page of the pre-agreement quotation and the loan agreement form means that you understand the conditions of the loan and that you are agreeing to the conditions of the loan.
For some categories of funding, there are other selection criteria. Final Year funding for students
Need to have been previously funded by NSFAS
Need to have been registered in the last two years
Need to be on track to graduate at the end of this academic year
Cannot have received Final Year funding previously.
For the NSF Scarce Skills funding, there are particular areas of study that have been identified as scarce skills, and students are selected on the basis of financial means and academic merit. For the Initial Teacher Education funding, only first years undertaking teaching in the same priority areas as Funza Lushaka will be considered for funding. For continuing students, priority will be given to students who were registered in the last two years of study and who have been previously funded by NSFAS. However, all continuing students are invited to apply and will be considered if there is funding available.
Where and by whom are NSFAS forms evaluated, WSU or NSFAS, CPT?WSU evaluates the applications for financial aid against the criteria set by NSFAS – these are criteria set for all universities across the country.
In 2013, all the forms for all four campuses were captured by a team of data capturers appointed by WSU, and all applications were ranked in one ranking across the university, and not by campus as previously done.
What happens to the remaining funding once a debt has been paid off?
The Zuma fund is the final year funding referred to previously. It is a loan for:
the final years (must be graduating at the end of the year that the loan is given)
student who have been previously funded by NSFAS
whose academic results are satisfactory
who have not been funded for two years beyond the minimum time to complete a degree (that is, if you are studying a three-year degree, you can only receive funding up to and including your fifth year of study and if you are doing a four year degree, you will only be funded for six years).
If you receive this loan, and you do graduate at the end of the year, the whole loan will be converted to a bursary. If not, then the standard NSFAS 40/60 rule applies.
Will Btech students receive NSFAS funding this year?
No, NSFAS has never funded BTech students at any other university, and so the one-year BTech year that is undertaken following a diploma will not be funded. The reason for this is that NSFAS only funds first degrees or diplomas. While limited funding for postgraduate studies was introduced in 2011, this is not enough to cover the BTech programmes across the country. Our loan has been finalised but our residences were not included since the school allocated them late. What are we going to do with such debts? In 2013, a special plea was made to the Residence Offices to load all residence costs onto student fee accounts. This unfortunately did not happen and each of the FAOs should be checking to see if any residence costs have been added to the student fee account before you sign your loan form. Please make sure of this and if not, bring a copy of your student fee account to the FAO when you go to sign your loan form.
No, generally NSFAS does not pay for previous year debts. There was special funding allocated in 2012 to settle all outstanding balances as at 31 December 2011, and this was done towards the end of the 2012 academic year. No student registered in 2011 with outstanding fees on 31 December 2011 should have outstanding balances unless they did not receive funding in 2012 and did not meet these costs themselves. For these students, NSFAS cannot provide funding.