Does NSFAS Fund Extended Programmes?

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) plays a crucial role in supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds to access higher education opportunities. One common question that arises is whether NSFAS provides funding for Extended Programmes (EPs). The answer is not a straightforward yes or no, as it depends on the specific type of EP and its integration with the degree program.

Understanding Extended Programmes

Extended Programmes (EPs) are designed to assist students who may not initially meet the standard entry requirements for a particular degree program. These programs offer an additional foundation year to help students develop the necessary academic skills and knowledge before progressing to the main degree curriculum. EPs aim to increase access to higher education and provide a supportive learning environment for students who might otherwise struggle.

NSFAS Funding for Extended Programmes with Integrated Foundation Phases

While NSFAS generally supports undergraduate studies, the funding for Extended Programmes is specific to those with Integrated Foundation Phases (ECPs). ECPs seamlessly integrate the additional foundation year into the overall degree program, ensuring that the foundation phase counts towards the final qualification.

If a student is enrolled in an accredited Extended Programme with an Integrated Foundation Phase (ECP), they may be eligible for NSFAS funding, provided they meet the general eligibility criteria. These criteria typically include financial need, academic performance, and other requirements set by NSFAS.

Important Considerations

When it comes to NSFAS funding for Extended Programmes, there are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • Not all EPs are funded: Only those with integrated foundation phases (ECPs) qualify for NSFAS support.
  • Eligibility criteria apply: Students must still meet the standard NSFAS requirements, such as financial need and academic performance.
  • Funding details may vary: The specific financial support provided by NSFAS for ECPs may differ from traditional degree programs.

Steps to Explore Funding Options

If you are considering enrolling in an Extended Programme, here are some steps you can take to explore funding options:

  1. Verify your EP program: Confirm if it’s an accredited ECP with an integrated foundation phase.
  2. Check NSFAS eligibility: Ensure you meet the general requirements for NSFAS funding.
  3. Contact your institution: Universities and colleges manage ECPs differently. Contact their financial aid office for specific details about NSFAS funding for your chosen program.

Additionally, you can visit the NSFAS website and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) website for more information and resources.

People Also Ask

What is the purpose of Extended Programmes?

The primary purpose of Extended Programmes (EPs) is to provide access to higher education for students who may not meet the standard entry requirements for a degree program. EPs offer an additional foundation year to help students develop the necessary academic skills and knowledge before progressing to the main degree curriculum.

How long do Extended Programmes typically last?

Extended Programmes typically last one additional year beyond the regular duration of the degree program. This additional year is dedicated to the foundation phase, which aims to prepare students for the academic rigors of their chosen degree.

Are Extended Programmes only available for certain fields of study?

No, Extended Programmes can be offered across various fields of study, including sciences, humanities, commerce, and more. The availability of EPs depends on the specific institution and the degree programs they offer.

Do Extended Programmes lead to the same qualifications as regular degree programs?

Yes, Extended Programmes with Integrated Foundation Phases (ECPs) lead to the same qualifications as their corresponding regular degree programs. The foundation phase is integrated into the overall degree program and counts towards the final qualification.

Can international students apply for NSFAS funding for Extended Programmes?

NSFAS funding is primarily aimed at South African citizens and permanent residents. International students may have limited funding options through NSFAS and should explore alternative sources of financial aid or scholarships.

How can I check if an Extended Programme is accredited?

You can contact the institution offering the Extended Programme or refer to the list of accredited programs provided by the relevant authorities, such as the Council on Higher Education (CHE) or the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).

Remember, while NSFAS funding for Extended Programmes with Integrated Foundation Phases is possible, it’s crucial to research and confirm the specific details of your chosen program and eligibility criteria. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your institution’s financial aid office for further guidance.


Chinua Achebe, with a decade of expertise in SASSA and NSFAS, is your trusted guide in navigating these vital support programs. Count on his experience to help you access the assistance you need.

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