After an announcement by President Jacob Zuma on December 16 that poor and working-class students will get free higher education, Unisa responded on December 24 with an explanation how this will work for students in 2019.
First-Time Students (New Students)
If your application for NSFAS funding is approved, then NSFAS will pay your 2019 student fees to Unisa. To qualify for NSFAS assistance, your household must have a combined income of less than R350,000 per year. This only applies to new students.
Existing Students With NSFAS Loans
If you already have an NSFAS loan, then your loan will now be converted to a bursary, and you will not have to repay to NSFAS. As a returning student, the new threshold of a combined income of less than R350,000 per household, does not apply to you. So the old limit of R122,000 still applies to you.
Existing Students Who Do Not Have NSFAS Loans
If you are an existing student, but you don’t have an NSFAS loan, you will have to pay your own student fees.
When Can You Apply?
Unisa students can apply for NSFAS funding from January 3, 2019, to January 26, 2019. You do this as part of your registration process. NSFAS applications for 2019 are Paused . But Unisa students will get the opportunity to apply as part of the Unisa registration process.
Should I Apply?
Yes, you should apply if:
a) You are registering with Unisa for the first time, for an undergraduate qualification.
b) You have never before registered for a formal qualification at any other higher education institution.
c) You are a South African citizen with a South African ID document.
d) Your combined annual household income does not exceed R350,000 per year.
Who Should NOT Apply?
You should not apply if:
a) You have a combined household income of R350,000 or more per year.
b) You have already applied for and qualified for NSFAS funding for the 2019 academic year. Note that students who have previously received NSFAS funding or who qualify for NSFAS funding for 2018 will have their loans converted to grants.
c) You have previously registered for any formal qualification at any higher education institution. This includes all re-registering Unisa students.
d) You are a foreign student.
When Will I Know The Outcome Of My Application?
If you register for semester 1 modules, you will be informed by the middle of February. If you register for year-modules, you will be informed by the middle of April.
If your application is successful, your student fee account will be adjusted once the NSFAS grant has been processed.
If your application is unsuccessful, you will have to pay your fees yourself.