Does NSFAS Fund Part-Time Students?

As a student pursuing higher education, the financial burden can often be a significant obstacle. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) provides a lifeline for many students in South Africa, offering bursaries and funding to help cover tuition fees, accommodation, and other expenses. However, the question on many part-time students’ minds is whether NSFAS extends its support to those pursuing their studies on a part-time basis.

NSFAS Eligibility for Part-Time Students

NSFAS primarily focuses on providing financial assistance to full-time students enrolled in public universities and TVET colleges. Unfortunately, part-time students or those attending private institutions are not eligible for funding from NSFAS. The scheme’s mandate is to support students pursuing traditional full-time programs, leaving part-time learners to explore alternative funding options.

Unisa: An Exception to the Rule

While NSFAS does not generally fund part-time students, there is an exception for students enrolled at the University of South Africa (Unisa). Since Unisa offers distance learning programs, NSFAS employs a distinct strategy to support these students. However, it’s important to note that the types of allowances provided may differ from those offered to full-time students at residential institutions.

Alternative Funding Options for Part-Time Students

Despite the limitations of NSFAS funding for part-time students, there are alternative sources of financial assistance available. These include:

  • Student Loans: Part-time students can explore student loan options offered by financial institutions or government entities, which often have favorable terms and repayment conditions.
  • Bursaries and Scholarships: Various organizations, institutions, and companies offer bursaries and scholarships specifically for part-time students, which can help offset the costs of education without requiring repayment.
  • Employer Sponsorship: Some employers provide financial assistance or sponsorship for employees pursuing part-time studies relevant to their profession or career development.

People Also Ask

Which Courses Does NSFAS Fund in 2024?

NSFAS provides funding for a wide range of courses at public universities and TVET colleges. These include, but are not limited to, hospitality, tourism, information technology, justice studies, manufacturing, marketing, physical sciences, public administration, social sciences, and many others. To see the complete list of funded courses, visit the official NSFAS website or consult with your institution’s financial aid office.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for NSFAS Funding?

To be eligible for NSFAS funding, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a South African citizen
  • Be a recipient of a SASSA grant
  • Have a combined household income of no more than R350,000 per year (or R600,000 for students with disabilities)
  • Have completed Grades 9 through 12
  • Be enrolled in a public university or TVET college as a full-time student

Can NSFAS Funding Be Used for Short Courses?

No, NSFAS does not provide funding for short courses, even at public universities. The scheme’s focus is on supporting students enrolled in full-time, multi-year degree or diploma programs.

What is the Application Process for NSFAS Funding?

To apply for NSFAS funding, you must first apply for admission to a public university or TVET college. Once accepted, you can then submit your NSFAS application through the institution’s financial aid office or online portal. Be prepared to provide supporting documents, such as proof of income and academic records.


While NSFAS does not provide funding for part-time students in most cases, there are alternative avenues for financial assistance available. Part-time students can explore student loans, bursaries, scholarships, and employer sponsorship to support their educational endeavors. It’s essential for prospective part-time students to research and consider all available options to ensure they can pursue their educational goals effectively.

NSFAS remains a vital resource for full-time undergraduate students, offering comprehensive financial aid packages to eligible applicants. By understanding the eligibility criteria and available alternatives, students can navigate the financial landscape and make informed decisions about their educational pursuits.


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.

Leave a Comment