NSFAS opened centralised applications for the 2017 academic year on 1 August 2016, inviting all learners who are currently in matric to submit their applications before the closing date of 30 November 2016.
Applications were also extended to students who are currently studying at universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, who are not funded by NSFAS, as well as students who were previously funded by NSFAS but were not funded in 2016.
Briefing the media on progress made in the 2017 centralised applications for current matric learners on Monday, NSFAS Executive Officer Msulwa Daca said they are concerned that the number of applications received from Grade 12 learners is low.
“Most of the applications we received are from university students. This is a concern because the reason [we opened] applications early is to be able to assess all applications [timeously] and communicate with the applicants before January 2017.
“In January, we would like to see all NSFAS students going to any institution and being able to register without any problems,” said Daca.
More than 195 668 students have managed to visit the NSFAS website to register and create the “myNSFAS account” on the website.
The myNSFAS account gives applicants access to their personal profile as a student. It allows applicants to complete the application form online and to submit the required supporting documents.
The account also allows students to save their application and come back later to continue where they left off. They can even monitor the progress of their application.
Daca said they have received thousands of manual applications via post, fax and email.
“Fifty thousand applications are at assessment stage. We have taken a decision that as we slowly introduce the online BAS system, we are never going to do away with the manual application forms
“As much as the online system is easier for us, we are also considerate of the learners that are in rural areas and have no access to connectivity.”
The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has agreed to assist NSFAS by availing the printed forms at all their community youth development centres in rural and township areas.
NSFAS is also working with the Department of Social Development through Isibindi Centres to distribute manual application forms at 263 community centres throughout the country.
“At all these centres, there will be agents who have been well trained to assist anyone who would like to complete the online application or the manual application forms. From our side as NSFAS, we have been distributing printed forms in rural areas and have so far assisted thousands of learners to apply.
“Our rural outreach teams will continue to distribute the forms in the many rural districts they visit in all provinces. Forms are also available at more than 300 campuses of universities and TVET colleges,” Daca said.
To apply online, students must log onto www.nsfas.org.za and create the myNSFAS account to verify their details.
For further details, applicants can contact NSFAS Offices on 0860 067 327 (share call) or www.nsfas.org.za.