The Lowdown on SASSA Grants and NSFAS Funding: Can You Score Both?

Suppose you’re a South African student receiving a SASSA (South African Social Security Agency) grant. In that case, you might wonder if you can qualify for NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) funding to further your studies.

Well, bru, you’re not alone! Many students are in the same boat, trying to navigate the complex world of funding opportunities. The good news is that, yes, SASSA grant recipients can indeed apply for NSFAS funding, but there are some important details to keep in mind.

In this article, we’ll break down the requirements, eligibility criteria, and application process to help you make sense of it all and potentially score both SASSA and NSFAS funding to support your academic journey. So, let’s dive in and get the scoop!

Understanding SASSA Grants

SASSA (South African Social Security Agency) grants are a vital lifeline for many South Africans, providing financial support to those who need it most. Here’s the lowdown on SASSA grants:

  1. What are SASSA grants? SASSA grants are government-funded social assistance programs aimed at supporting vulnerable citizens, including the elderly, disabled, and poor.
  2. Types of SASSA grants: There are several types of SASSA grants, including the Old Age Grant, Disability Grant, War Veteran’s Grant, Care Dependency Grant, Foster Child Grant, and Child Support Grant.
  3. Eligibility: To qualify for a SASSA grant, you must be a South African citizen, permanent resident, or refugee, and meet specific income and asset thresholds.
  4. Application process: You can apply for a SASSA grant at your local SASSA office or through a designated service point. You’ll need to provide required documents, such as your ID, proof of income, and proof of address.
  5. Grant amounts: The amount you receive varies depending on the type of grant and your individual circumstances. For example, the Old Age Grant pays out a maximum of R1,980 per month.

By understanding SASSA grants, you can better navigate the system and access the support you need. Now, let’s explore how SASSA grant recipients can also apply for NSFAS funding…

NSFAS Funding Eligibility Criteria

If you’re a student looking to score NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) funding, you need to meet certain criteria, bru! Here’s the deal:

  1. Citizenship: You must be a South African citizen or permanent resident.
  2. Academic performance: You need to have passed Grade 12 or equivalent, and meet the minimum academic requirements for your chosen course.
  3. Financial need: Your family’s income must fall below a certain threshold (currently R350,000 per annum for undergraduate students).
  4. Course requirements: You must be registered or intending to register for an accredited undergraduate or postgraduate degree at a public university or TVET college.
  5. Age limit: You must be under 56 years old (for undergraduate studies) or under 60 years old (for postgraduate studies).
  6. Previous funding: You can’t have already completed a previous undergraduate degree or diploma (unless you’re applying for postgraduate funding).
  7. NSFAS approval: You must be approved by NSFAS to receive funding (they assess your application and financial need).

If you tick all these boxes, you’re eligible to apply for NSFAS funding, which covers tuition fees, accommodation, and living expenses. Now, let’s explore how SASSA grant recipients can also apply for NSFAS funding…

Impact of SASSA Grants on NSFAS Eligibility

Here’s the scoop on how SASSA grants affect your NSFAS eligibility, bru:

  • SASSA grants are not considered income: When applying for NSFAS, your SASSA grant is not counted as part of your household income, so it won’t affect your financial need assessment.
  • NSFAS will assess your overall financial situation: Even if you receive a SASSA grant, NSFAS will still evaluate your family’s financial situation to determine your eligibility for funding.
  • SASSA grants can complement NSFAS funding: If you’re awarded NSFAS funding, your SASSA grant can help cover additional expenses, like living costs or transport.
  • No double dipping allowed: You can’t receive funding from both NSFAS and another government-funded scholarship or bursary for the same qualification.
  • Disclosure is key: Be honest and disclose your SASSA grant when applying for NSFAS funding to avoid any potential issues or penalties.
  • NSFAS will verify your SASSA grant status: As part of the application process, NSFAS may confirm your SASSA grant status with the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).

Remember, receiving a SASSA grant doesn’t automatically disqualify you from NSFAS funding. The two can work together to support your education goals!

Navigating Dual Financial Support

If you’re receiving a SASSA grant and want to apply for NSFAS funding, here’s how to navigate dual financial support, bru:

  • Understand the difference: SASSA grants are social assistance programs, while NSFAS funding is specifically for education and training.
  • Check your eligibility: Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for both SASSA and NSFAS funding.
  • Disclose your SASSA grant: When applying for NSFAS, be honest and disclose your SASSA grant status.
  • Keep your SASSA grant separate: Use your SASSA grant for its intended purpose (e.g., living expenses) and don’t mix it with your NSFAS funding.
  • Manage your funds wisely: Budget and prioritize your expenses to make the most of both funding sources.
  • Comply with NSFAS terms: Adhere to NSFAS funding conditions, such as academic performance requirements and reimbursement rules.
  • Seek guidance: If unsure about managing dual financial support, consult with a financial aid advisor or SASSA/NSFAS representative.
  • Review and adjust: Regularly assess your financial situation and adjust your budget as needed to ensure you’re making the most of both funding sources.

By navigating dual financial support effectively, you can maximize your funding opportunities and achieve your education goals, sisonke!

Tips for SASSA Grant Recipients Applying for NSFAS

If you’re a SASSA grant recipient looking to apply for NSFAS funding, here are some valuable tips to help you navigate the process, bru:

  • Apply early: Don’t wait until the last minute; apply for NSFAS funding as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline.
  • Gather all documents: Make sure you have all the required documents, including your SASSA grant confirmation letter, ID, and academic records.
  • Complete the application correctly: Double-check your application for accuracy and completeness to avoid delays or rejection.
  • Meet the academic requirements: Ensure you meet the minimum academic requirements for your chosen course.
  • Keep your SASSA grant up to date: Make sure your SASSA grant is active and up to date to avoid any issues with your NSFAS application.
  • Disclose all income: Be honest and disclose all sources of income, including your SASSA grant, to avoid any potential penalties.
  • Prioritize your funding: If awarded NSFAS funding, use it for education-related expenses, and use your SASSA grant for living expenses.
  • Seek help when needed: If you’re struggling with the application process or have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to a financial aid advisor or NSFAS representative.
  • Follow up on your application: Keep track of your application status and follow up with NSFAS if you haven’t received a response.
  • Stay organized: Keep all your documents and correspondence in order to ensure a smooth application process.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to successfully applying for NSFAS funding as a SASSA grant recipient, sisonke!


1: Can I apply for NSFAS funding if I’m already receiving a SASSA grant?
Yes, you can! SASSA grants and NSFAS funding serve different purposes, so you can apply for both.

2: How do I disclose my SASSA grant when applying for NSFAS funding?
Simply provide your SASSA grant confirmation letter and mention it in your NSFAS application.

3: Can I use my NSFAS funding for living expenses if I’m already receiving a SASSA grant?
No, bru! Use your NSFAS funding for education-related expenses, and your SASSA grant for living expenses.

4: What if I’m struggling to manage my SASSA grant and NSFAS funding?
Don’t stress! Reach out to a financial aid advisor or SASSA/NSFAS representative for guidance.


In conclusion, receiving a SASSA grant and NSFAS funding can be a game-changer for your education. Remember to stay organized, disclose your SASSA grant, and prioritize your funding. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out. Good luck with your studies, and may your funding journey be smooth sailing, sisonke!

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