Can SASSA Grant Recipients Qualify for NSFAS Funding?

Whether South African student grant recipients can also qualify for NSFAS funding depends on the specific SASSA grant they currently receive. There are eligibility criteria to meet for both government grant and study grant schemes.

NSFAS Overview

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is a South African government grant program that provides funding to underprivileged youth to pursue tertiary studies at public universities and TVET colleges.

NSFAS issues bursaries and loans to students who meet the financial eligibility requirements. The 2023 NSFAS budget is R47.6 billion.

NSFAS Facts 2023

SASSA Social Grants Available

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) administers several social grant programs for vulnerable groups including:

  • Child Support Grant – Monthly grant for eligible children up to age 18
  • Care Dependency Grant – For children with disabilities needing fulltime care
  • Disability Grant – For adults with disabilities unable to work
  • Grant-in-Aid – Extra grant for care assistance
  • Foster Child Grant – For children legally placed in foster care
  • Older Person’s Grant – For seniors 60 years and above
  • War Veteran’s Grant – For those who served in World Wars or Korea

SRD COVID-19 Social Relief Grant

The temporary SRD grant was introduced to assist unemployed individuals with no income during the pandemic.

SRD recipients cannot receive NSFAS funding concurrently according to eligibility criteria. The SRD is mutually exclusive with the NSFAS tertiary study grant.

Other SASSA Grants and NSFAS Eligibility

However, recipients of other permanent SASSA social grants like the Child Support, Disability or Foster Care Grants may qualify for the NSFAS tertiary study grant provided they meet the additional criteria.

These groups are considered financially eligible based on their SASSA grant recipient status. But they must still meet academic, age and other requirements to receive NSFAS bursaries or loans.

49% of NSFAS Budget Reserved for SASSA Recipients

In 2023, NSFAS has allocated 49% of its total government grant budget specifically for SASSA social grant recipients who automatically meet the financial eligibility criteria.

R38.6 billion goes towards university students, while R8.9 billion is allocated to TVET college SASSA recipients. This reservation pool helps ensure NSFAS funding access for financially needy students already receiving SASSA assistance.

Meeting NSFAS Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the NSFAS tertiary study grant, SASSA social grant recipients must:

  • Have a gross family income below R350,000 per annum
  • Be a South African citizen
  • Apply for and get accepted to a public university or TVET college
  • Pass academic eligibility criteria
  • Be age 35 or under (40 for disabled students)
  • Not already have a post-school qualification
  • Submit all required supporting documents

Meeting both the academic and financial eligibility requirements is essential.

Key Takeaway

The key point is that SRD grant recipients cannot get NSFAS, but recipients of other permanent SASSA social grants can if they meet the additional NSFAS tertiary study grant criteria. This helps expand access to higher education for financially vulnerable youth.

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