NSFAS Loan Applications Open for Missing Middle Students. NSFAS is providing funding for 31,000 missing middle students, and applications for student loans are now open. Here’s a breakdown of the information you need to know:
Application Period and Deadline
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is currently accepting 2024 student loan applications for missing middle students. It’s crucial to submit your application within the specified period, as applications will close on 15 February 2024.
How to Apply for a NSFAS Loan
Follow these simple steps to apply for a NSFAS loan:
- Visit the NSFAS website.
- Click on the ‘myNSFAS’ button.
- Select ‘Create a profile’.
- Fill in the required fields.
- Log in.
- Submit your application.
Comprehensive Student Funding Model
Higher Minister Blade Nzimande recently launched the first phase of the Comprehensive Student Funding Model. This initiative aims to provide student loans to those falling within the “missing middle” category, with an annual income ranging from R350,000 to R600,000.
To support the Comprehensive Student Funding Model, the government has allocated a substantial capitalization fund of R3.8 billion for the loan scheme in 2024. Of this amount, R1.5 billion is sourced from the National Skills Fund (NSF), while R2.3 billion comes from Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs). This funding is expected to benefit around 47% of the estimated 68,446 missing middle students, totaling 31,884 individuals.
Eligibility Criteria and Focus Areas
NSFAS is currently formulating eligibility criteria and funding conditions for the loan scheme. The primary criteria include a family’s household income falling between R350,000 and R600,000, along with enrollment in specific programs. Notably, the NSFAS missing middle loans are open to both undergraduate and postgraduate students, with a special emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs.
Application Period Reminder
Students falling within the missing middle category are urged to apply during the current NSFAS application period, ending on 15 February 2024. Applications can be submitted on the myNSFAS portal.
Re-assessment for Rejected NSFAS Bursary Applicants
It’s noteworthy that rejected NSFAS bursary applicants will automatically be re-assessed for eligibility under the missing middle loan scheme.
NSFAS Transition from Loan to Bursary
Before 2018, NSFAS functioned as a loan scheme. Nzimande highlighted the government’s pursuit of student debt recoveries from previous students who benefited from NSFAS when it was a loan scheme. The outstanding debt is currently estimated to be over R40 billion.
Student Debt Recovery Efforts
Efforts are being made to improve the collection process for student debt, with NSFAS successfully recovering over R110 million in the current fiscal year. Students are encouraged to fulfill their financial obligations and pay back their student loans to sustain the loan scheme.
SIU Collaboration and Debt Recovery
Collaborative efforts between NSFAS and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) have been initiated to engage former beneficiaries and secure acknowledgments of debt totaling over R4 million from individuals and R38 million from higher education institutions. The SIU has also recovered an additional R58 million from institutions, currently held in trust, with ongoing efforts to facilitate the return of these funds.