The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) celebrated its 30th anniversary of funding financially disadvantaged students who are pursuing their tertiary qualifications at institutions across the country. This milestone was celebrated at a national event held in Pretoria on 9 June 2018, which drew over 1 000 guests representing government and private institutions as well as former NSFAS students, who received funding from NSFAS during their studies.

The National Students Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) held a gala dinner on Thursday, 1 December 2022 to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

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Nsfas was established by the South African government in 1999 as a programme that supported students who were financially needy and who wanted to attend a university.

In 2010, students at Technical Vocational and Education and Training (TVET) colleges were included in Nsfas financial support for the first time. By this time, 125 899 students were funded and the Nsfas budget grew to R1.76 billion. 

The Government introduced the new fully-subsidized model of student funding in 2018. This model ensures that South African students studying at universities are funded regardless of their background and socio-economic status.

Students are fully-subsidised for both short-term and long-term studies. This means that students receive support for expenses such as registration, tuition, accommodation and learning materials.

More than 60% of undergraduate students in public universities are receiving Nsfas funding and over 90% of students in TVET college are Nsfas-funded students.

The number of students studying for a degree through NSFAS has increased over the years. From 2015 to 2020, the total number of students supported by NSFAS has grown by 299%.

The learners dropout rate is lower than their counterparts who are in the national cohort (32.4%). The overall throughput rate for Nsfas learners is a little above that of the national cohort, but it has still proven to be much more effective in terms of student success and completion.

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Our throughput rate of 71.3% is higher than the national cohort’s throughput of 61.2%. Our students are more likely to complete their qualifications in time, and are less likely to drop out.

Minister Nzimande states that the throughput rate indicates the importance of financial support for student success in higher education. 

He believes that Nsfas will continue to contribute to the socio-economic development of South Africa as many Nsfas-funded students who have obtained their qualifications have become active and hard-working members of society. 

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