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Find Your Launchpad - Best Online Funding Platforms for Studies

The world is moving online more and more and the good news is that funding institutions are too. An exciting new development is a host of private non-profit organisations making it easier for students to apply for funding online. With well-designed website interfaces, these organisations are streamlining the funding process and making sure the learners who need funding the most, get it.

EDITOR | June 2023

Find Your Launchpad - Best Online Funding Platforms for Studies

The competition to offer the best funding options – and match deserving students with suitable funding packages – bodes well for the future. But, as with most things on the internet, there are good options and bad ones. Below are two websites worth a visit, plus the latest on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

FEENIX (feenix.org)

Feenix was launched in June 2017 as a response to the #FeesMustFall movement that spread across campuses in South Africa during 2015 and 2016. This movement highlighted the extremely high cost of tertiary education and the impact fi nancial stress has on student success rates. Feenix is a non-profi t organisation with an intuitive online platform that connects students with both corporate and individual donors and mentors, simplifying the arduous process of seeking and applying for funding.

The organisation’s philosophy is built around the belief that academic achievement should not be part of an onboarding criteria as they believe that anxiety over funding is a contributor to students' academic performance.

With Feenix you can:

✔ Fundraise for current and/or historical debt (amount that reflects on your university fee statement)

✔ Receive donations from your community safely

✔ Connect with business communities for opportunities in finding and/or future employment

✔ Find a debt-free solution, meaning you do not need to pay back any funds raised via Feenix.

What do you need to qualify:

➊ A valid South African identity document or Refugee/Asylum seeker permit

➋ Be a student registered at a South African public university

➌ Have a combined household income below R600 000 per year.

To create your profile on the feenix.org platform, you need to upload the following documents:

➜ An official fee statement not older than 30 days and on the offi cial university letterhead

➜ A certified ID copy not older than 6 months (if it's a smart card, please make sure both sides of the card are on the certified copy)

➜ A clear, recent, and appropriate profile picture

➜ Your aspirational story/biography and/or YouTube video.


ISFAP (isfap.org.za)

The Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme (ISFAP) was established to assist poor and “missing” middle-income university students in The Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme (ISFAP) was established to assist poor and “missing” middle-income university students in selected fields of study to afford the university fees by means of providing financial aid. The programme aims to fast-track South Africa’s skills production for the 21st century by funding the higher education costs of mainly students studying towards a career in Occupations of High Demand (OHDs). These occupations have been identified as critical to South Africa’s economic development by the Human Resources Development Council (HRDC) and include Actuaries, Accountants, Engineers, Medical Doctors, Pharmacists and Prosthetists.

ISFAP aims to:

✔ Reduce the high dropout rate of poor and working-class students in the higher education and training sector

✔ Improve the employability of funded graduates

✔ Improve the country’s skills profi le, especially in occupations of high demand

✔ Improve the partnership between government, the private sector/business and higher education institutions in supporting poor and “missing middle” students.

How are the students selected?

➊ A household means test is done for all applying students

➋ Academic criteria

➌ A National Benchmarking Test for some institutions (academic and behavioural strength)

➍ Matric results

➎ Funder constraints (that meet individual funder objectives), which will be applied to students applying

➏ Successful applicants will receive a funding package that includes tuition, accommodation, study material, a monthly stipend and meals as well as student support and an on-campus ISFAP programme manager.

To qualify you need:

➜ Academic achievement and acceptance into the ISFAP partner university of your choice for the relevant degree proramme

➜ A certified copy of your ID

➜ A certified copy of your latest academic results (Grade 11 or Matric)

➜ Signed consent form (applicant and household contributors) certified by Commissioner of Oaths.



The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is a bursary scheme funded by the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation for those who do not have the fi nancial means to fund their studies and cannot access bank funding, study loans or bursaries.

Take note: The new physical address for the NSFAS Student Centre is 4 Christiaan Barnard Street, Cape Town City Centre.

To apply for NSFAS, you must meet the following criteria:

✔ All SASSA grant recipients must have email and cell phone number

✔ Be a South African citizen with a valid ID number

✔ Be a fi rst-time entering university or TVET college student

✔ Household income must not exceed R350 000 per annum

✔ Must meet the academic requirements for admission to a university or TVET college

✔ For persons living with disabilities, household income should not exceed R600 000 per annum.

What does a NSFAS bursary cover?

For 2024-2025, the bursary covers the cost of tuition, and some additional expenses related to your studies, which include:

➊ Accommodation: NSFAS covers the cost of on-campus or off -campus student housing.

➋ Textbooks and study materials: NSFAS can provide you with a study allowance to purchase the required textbooks and materials for your course.

➌ Meals: The NSFAS provides a meal allowance to help cover the cost of food while you are studying.

➍ Travel expenses: NSFAS provides a travel allowanceTravel expenses: NSFAS provides a travel allowance to help cover the cost of travel to and from campus.

For university students

➊ Accommodation: As per the actual costs charged by the university (costs for private accommodation must not exceed costs for university residence)

➋ Transport (up to 40km from the institution) R7 500 per annum

➌ Living allowance R15 000 per annum

➍ Book allowances R5 200 per annum

➎ Incidental/personal care allowance of R2 900 per annum for students in catered residences.

TVET College NSFAS allowance 2023-2024

➊ Accommodation in an urban area is R24 000 per annum

➋ Accommodation in a peri-urban area is R18 900 per annum

➌ Accommodation in a rural area is R15 750 per annum

➍ Transport (up to 40km from the institution) R7 350 per annum

➎ Transport R7 000 per annum

➏ Incidental/personal care allowance R2 900 per annum.

TVET College students who are moving to a university may be eligible to apply for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding in 2024. Requirements for NSFAS funding depend on a number of factors, which includes the student’s financial needs, academic performance, and other criteria set by NSFAS.

What are the required documents?

➜ Applicant should have a copy of student ID / birth certificate

➜ Must have a copy of parent/s or guardian/spouse ID

➜ Smart card: both sides of the card required

➜ Provide proof of income (if applicable)

➜ Persons living with a disability must have a Disability Annexure A form

➜ Applicant who is recognised as a vulnerable child by the Department of Social Development must provide a completed Vulnerable Child Declaration form completed by a social worker

➜ If you have no family member details and or abridged birth certifi cate, you must complete the Declaration: Non-SASSA.

How to apply for NSFAS online

The NSFAS Online Application portal for the 2023-2024 academic year will be active from 28 September 2023 to 31 January 2024.

The application process is very easy, simple and accurate. When you are applying online, you will be prompted when information is missing or incorrect, helping you to ensure that you add all the important information when submitting your online application form.

Here's how to apply for NSFAS online in 2023-2024:

➊ Go to NSFAS website: www.nsfas.org.za apply 2024

➋ Click on the “myNSFAS” tab at the top right menu of the page

➌ Login with your ID number and password to start your application

➍ If you don’t have an ID number, create a “myNSFAS account“

➎ You will be generated a Student ID Number that will help you to apply

➏ Click on the “APPLY” tab and complete the sections on the screen

➐ Upload the required supporting documents where applicable

➑ Then, click on the “Submit” button to submit your application for evaluation.

If you don’t have a digital device or have access to the internet, don’t worry, just go to your nearest National Youth Development Agency  (NYDA) or Thusong Centre to apply by following the same steps above.



National Student Financial Aid Scheme on 086 006 7327, info@nsfas.org.za or www.nsfas.org.za

Career Centre on 086 999 0123 or www.careerhelp.org.za

Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation on 0800 087 2222 or www.dhet.gov.za

National Career Advice Portal at http://ncap.careerhelp.org.za/

For lists of bursaries available, check out www.bursaries-southafrica.co.za or www.zabursaries.co.za