Can NSFAS Fund You for a Second Degree? Everything You Need to Know

Hey there! If you’re reading this, chances are you’re considering going back to school to pursue a second degree, but you’re wondering if your finances will allow for it. Well, have you ever heard of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)? It’s a government-funded initiative in South Africa that helps financially needy students pay for their studies at any public university or TVET college in the country. So the question on everyone’s mind is: can NSAFS fund you for a second degree?

You’ll be pleased to know that the answer is a resounding yes! If you received funding from NSFAS during your first degree and passed all your courses, you are eligible to apply for funding for a second degree. However, there are certain criteria that need to be met before NSFAS will approve your application, like your family household income and academic performance. And if you didn’t receive funding during your first degree, you could still apply for it when pursuing your second degree, provided that you meet NSFAS’s financial and academic requirements.

But wait, there’s more! NSFAS not only provides funding for tuition fees, but they also offer allowances for accommodation, transport, books and other study materials. It’s a comprehensive financial aid package that aims to remove financial barriers to higher education. So if you’re considering a second degree, don’t let finances hold you back. NSFAS is a valuable resource that you should definitely look into.

What is NSFAS?

NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) is a South African government-funded financial aid program that aims to provide financial support to students who are financially needy and unable to afford their tertiary education fees. The main objective of NSFAS is to increase access to higher education for disadvantaged students to help them achieve their academic goals.

NSFAS operates under the jurisdiction of the Department of Higher Education and Training, and it is funded through the South African Treasury. The organization is responsible for providing financial aid, such as bursaries and study loans, to eligible students who meet the criteria for receiving the assistance.

  • NSFAS services include:
  • Allocating funds for eligible students to pay for their tuition fees, academic expenses, and book allowances
  • Providing loans that need to be repaid after students graduate or leave university
  • Offering bursaries, which do not need to be repaid, to academically deserving students who are in dire financial need

NSFAS aims to provide financial assistance to students from poor and working-class families, and students with disabilities. Eligibility is determined by a means test, which takes into account the family income and the number of dependents in the household. Students need to apply for NSFAS funding every year and need to meet the academic progression requirements for their funding to be renewed every year.

Eligibility criteria for NSFAS funding

If you are considering pursuing a second degree and need financial assistance, you may be wondering if NSFAS can fund your studies. The answer is yes, in some cases. However, there are certain eligibility criteria that you must meet to be considered for NSFAS funding for a second degree.

  • You must be a South African citizen
  • You must have completed a prior undergraduate qualification
  • You must have a combined household income of less than R350,000 per annum

If you meet these eligibility criteria, you can apply for funding through NSFAS to cover the cost of your second degree. However, it’s important to note that NSFAS funding is limited and not guaranteed. Furthermore, there are specific requirements that you must meet in order to maintain your funding, such as passing all your modules with a minimum average of 50%, attending all lectures and tutorials, and being academically deserving of the funding.

When it comes to second degrees, NSFAS funding is not always available for all courses. In general, funding is prioritized for courses that are deemed to be in high demand and necessary for the growth and development of the country. Therefore, if you are pursuing a second degree in a field that is not considered a priority, you may have a harder time securing NSFAS funding.

NSFAS Funding for Postgraduate Studies

While NSFAS funding is generally associated with undergraduate studies, it is also possible to receive funding for postgraduate studies. However, the eligibility criteria for postgraduate funding is different from that of undergraduate funding.

To qualify for NSFAS funding for postgraduate studies, you must:

  • Hold an undergraduate degree (or equivalent qualification)
  • Be enrolled in a postgraduate program at a public university
  • Have a combined household income of less than R600,000 per annum
  • Be academically deserving of the funding

In addition to these eligibility criteria, NSFAS postgraduate funding is typically awarded to students pursuing certain courses. These include fields such as science, engineering, and education.


If you are considering pursuing a second degree and need financial assistance, NSFAS funding may be an option for you. However, it’s important to meet the eligibility criteria and understand that funding is not guaranteed. Additionally, the availability of funding may vary depending on the course you are pursuing.

Eligibility Criteria for NSFAS Funding Undergraduate Postgraduate
South African citizen
Completed prior undergraduate qualification
Household income less than R350,000/R600,000
Enrolled in certain courses

It’s important to stay informed about your options for funding and to reach out to relevant organizations for more information.

How to Apply for NSFAS?

If you’re looking to apply for a second degree through NSFAS, it’s important to understand the application process and requirements. Here’s a breakdown of how to apply:

  • Visit the NSFAS website and create an account
  • Fill in the required personal and academic information
  • Provide the necessary documents, such as your ID, proof of income, and academic transcripts
  • Apply for admission to an accredited institution and include the institution’s student number in your NSFAS application
  • Submit your application

It’s important to note that NSFAS has a limited budget and can only fund a certain number of students each year. Therefore, meeting the application requirements does not necessarily guarantee funding.

NSFAS Second Degree Funding Eligibility Criteria

  • The applicant must be a South African citizen
  • The applicant must have previously been funded by NSFAS for their first degree
  • The applicant must have completed their first degree within the required minimum duration (as stated by the institution)
  • The applicant must have a strong academic record and meet the institution’s admission requirements for the second degree program
  • The applicant’s family must meet the NSFAS means test criteria, which takes into account their household income and number of dependents

NSFAS Second Degree Application Deadline

NSFAS usually opens applications in August, and the deadline for submission is usually at the end of November. However, it’s recommended to check the NSFAS website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information on application dates and deadlines.

NSFAS Second Degree Funding Limits

NSFAS funding for a second degree is limited and will depend on the availability of funds. The funding amount will be based on the student’s financial need and the cost of the program. The maximum funding amount for a second degree is usually lower than that of a first degree.

Program Cost Maximum Funding Amount
R50,000 or less Full cost of the program
Above R50,000 R50,000

It’s important to keep in mind that NSFAS funding is a loan, and students will be required to pay it back once they start earning a certain amount of income after graduation. However, the interest on the loan is subsidized, and students will not be required to pay back more than the amount they borrowed.

What expenses does NSFAS cover?

NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) is an institution that provides much-needed financial assistance to students who can’t afford to pay for their tertiary education on their own. However, the question of whether NSFAS can fund a second degree is a little complicated. In order to answer that question, let’s first look at what expenses NSFAS actually covers.

  • Tuition fees: NSFAS covers the full cost of tuition fees at a public university or TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) college.
  • Accommodation: For students who live on campus, NSFAS provides funding for accommodation in a university residence or accredited private accommodation.
  • Transport: NSFAS can also cover the cost of transport to and from campus for students who live off campus.
  • Learning materials: This includes textbooks, stationery, and other materials that are required for your studies.
  • Laptop: NSFAS has initiated a laptop program that allows eligible students to acquire laptops for academic purposes exclusively.

It’s important to note that NSFAS funding does come with certain restrictions. For example, if you fail a course, you may have to pay back the NSFAS funds that were used to pay for that course. Additionally, there is a maximum amount that you can receive from NSFAS each year, which means that you may have to find other sources of funding to cover additional expenses.

Wrap Around Support Services

NSFAS provides extensive wrap-around support services to ensure academic success for students. This includes mentorship, counselling, academic support programs, and disability support services.

Funding for a Second Degree

Unfortunately, NSFAS does not fund a second degree for a continuing student who has completed a previous qualification. However, if a student did not complete their previous qualification due to outstanding fees or failing to fulfil their funding conditions, they may still qualify for NSFAS funding for the continuation of that previous qualification.

Expenses covered Funding Limitation
Tuition fees Full coverage of tuition at Public universities and TVET colleges
Accommodation Private accommodation capped at R34,400 per year with a max of R17, 200 per semester and University Accommodation capped at R90,000 per year
Transport Unlimited bus transport at university’s rate for UNISA students. For those who live off campus commuting of up to 40KM for TVET College Students.
Learning Materials Capped at R5,200 per annum per student
Laptop Capped at R5,000

In conclusion, NSFAS is a great institution that provides financial aid to students in need. While they cover a lot of expenses, they unfortunately don’t provide funding for a second degree for a continuing student who has already completed a previous qualification. However, there are still plenty of other financial aid and scholarship options out there that students can explore to help fund their second degree.

Can you apply for NSFAS for postgraduate studies?

NSFAS or the National Student Financial Aid Scheme is a government entity that provides financial assistance to academically deserving, financially needy students in South Africa. It is primarily aimed at supporting students who are pursuing their first undergraduate degree or diploma. However, many students wonder whether NSFAS can fund their postgraduate studies.

  • Yes, NSFAS does offer funding for postgraduate studies in certain cases. However, there are specific criteria that students must meet in order to be eligible for this funding.
  • One of the primary criteria for postgraduate funding is academic performance. Students must have achieved a minimum average of 60% in their undergraduate degree or diploma to be considered for postgraduate funding.
  • Additionally, students must be enrolled in a postgraduate program that is aligned with NSFAS’s focus areas, such as science, engineering, and technology.

To apply for postgraduate funding from NSFAS, students must complete an online application form and meet all the eligibility criteria. It is worth noting that funding is not guaranteed and is subject to the availability of funds.

It is also important to note that NSFAS offers a range of other funding options for postgraduate students, including loans and bursaries from external sponsors. Students are encouraged to explore all their options for funding and to apply early to increase their chances of receiving financial assistance.

Eligibility Criteria for NSFAS Postgraduate Funding
Minimum average of 60% in undergraduate degree or diploma
Enrolled in a postgraduate program aligned with NSFAS focus areas

In conclusion, while NSFAS primarily provides funding for undergraduate studies, it is possible to receive funding for postgraduate studies in certain cases. Students must meet specific eligibility criteria and apply early to increase their chances of receiving funding.

Alternatives to NSFAS funding for second degrees

If you are pursuing a second degree, you may be wondering whether you can still receive funding from NSFAS. Unfortunately, NSFAS only provides funding for a student’s first undergraduate degree. However, there are several alternative funding options that you can explore.

  • Scholarships: There are a wide range of scholarships available to students pursuing their second degree. These scholarships may be provided by universities, private organizations, or government agencies. Be sure to research scholarship opportunities in your field of study.
  • Student loans: Banks and other financial institutions offer student loans to help you fund your education. It’s important to carefully consider the interest rates and repayment terms before taking out a loan.
  • Employer sponsorships: If you are currently employed, your employer may be willing to sponsor your education. This may involve paying a portion of your tuition or providing you with paid study leave.

It’s important to thoroughly research your funding options and determine which one best meets your needs and will allow you to achieve your academic goals.

Examples of private organizations offering scholarships for second degrees:

Organization Scholarship Name Amount
Golden Key International Honour Society Graduate Scholar Award Varies
Association for Women in Science Women in Science Fellowship $5,000
Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation Truman Scholarship $30,000

These are just a few examples of private organizations that offer scholarships for second degrees. Be sure to research other options as well.

Tips for managing NSFAS funding for second degrees

Getting funding for a second degree can be a daunting process, but with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), it becomes a more accessible option. Here, we’ll explore how NSFAS funding works for second degrees and how to manage it effectively.

  • Apply early: Funding opportunities are limited, so it’s essential to apply as soon as possible. You should apply online and attach all the necessary documents to avoid procrastinating.
  • Know the requirements: Ensure you know what is required, such as academic performance and other prerequisites, to be eligible for the funding. NSFAS expects you to adhere to specific requirements, including passing all modules and maintaining an excellent academic record
  • Manage funds wisely: As much as NSFAS funding is there to give you a chance at a better education, it’s not a limitless supply of funds for you to use without consideration. As an applicant, you need to be financially literate and manage adequately the money allocated to you.

After you have been awarded the funding, here are a few tips on how to manage it successfully:

First, use NSFAS funding only for educational-related expenses such as textbooks, tuition, and accommodation. You should also keep track of all your expenses; maintaining records will help you understand your finances during the academic year. Additionally, you may consider getting a part-time job that will finance non-educational expenses and other personal needs during your academic year.

NSFAS has a bursary calculator that can help you budget better for year-end academic costs which include textbooks, accommodation and travel expenses. You can use this tool to calculate your needs for the entire academic year to avoid overspending or lack of funds.

Tip Description
Plan budget Sit down and plan your budget while considering all expenses for the entire academic year.
Network with alumni Reach out to alumni who have gone through similar experiences to learn from their challenges and successes.
Stay focused Ensure you do not neglect your academic responsibilities while simultaneously trying to integrate extracurricular activities into your life.

NSFAS funding is generally paid to the institution where you are enrolled, depending on your needs. By managing your finances well, you can adequately make use of the opportunity provided by NSFAS to continue with your academic pursuits and obtain a higher qualification that can better your livelihood.

FAQs: Can NSFAS Fund You for a Second Degree?

1. Can I apply for NSFAS funding for a second degree?
Yes, you can apply for NSFAS funding for a second degree provided that you meet the eligibility criteria and requirements.

2. What are the eligibility criteria for NSFAS funding for a second degree?
To be eligible for NSFAS funding for a second degree, you must have been funded by NSFAS for your first degree and have achieved the required academic results.

3. How do I apply for NSFAS funding for a second degree?
You can apply for NSFAS funding for a second degree through the NSFAS online application portal during the application period.

4. What documents do I need to submit for NSFAS funding for a second degree?
You need to submit your academic transcripts, proof of income, and other supporting documents required by NSFAS.

5. What is the maximum amount of funding that I can receive from NSFAS for a second degree?
The maximum amount of funding that you can receive from NSFAS for a second degree is determined based on your financial need and the cost of your studies.

6. How long does it take for NSFAS to process my application for funding for a second degree?
NSFAS takes about 4 to 6 weeks to process applications for funding for a second degree.

Closing: Thanks for Reading!

We hope that these FAQs have answered some of your questions about NSFAS funding for a second degree. Remember, if you meet the eligibility criteria and requirements, you can apply for funding through the NSFAS online application portal. Don’t hesitate to apply and pursue your dreams. Thank you for reading and make sure to visit us again for more helpful information.