NSFAS: Important changes to rules and allowances

Posted on January 20, 2020

Dear Student,

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has made changes to the rules and allowances applicable to different categories of students approved for NSFAS funding. These rule changes were approved by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology (DHET) on 6 December 2019 and communicated to all universities on 16 January 2020.

The main changes to the allowances for 2020 include a change in the allocated amounts; they also affect the types of allowances to students living off-campus in family or non-accredited accommodation (see table below for more detail). For example, students living at home will now receive a living allowance, and the transport allowance has been reduced to R7 500. Students in non-accredited accommodation will no longer receive an accommodation allowance.

The University has an adequate supply of UP residences and accredited accommodation to ensure that all NSFAS students can be accommodated in close proximity to the UP campuses. Students who are considering entering into private leases in non-accredited facilities are advised to rather apply for accommodation in accredited facilities in order to ensure that they qualify for NSFAS allowances in terms of the new rules as stipulated by the DHET. The accreditation of private accommodation is done strictly in terms of the applicable policies and in compliance with the government-prescribed minimum norms and standards for student housing.

Students requiring more information can approach the Department of Residence Affairs and Accommodation at the Registration Centre on the Hillcrest Sports Campus.

The new NSFAS allocations for 2020 are set out in the table below:

Accommodation Type

Allowance type

Learning materials*

Living allowances**



University-managed with catering

R5 200

R15 000 (loaded on the meal card) and R2 900 for incidentals***

According to University prices


University-managed self-catering

R5 200

R15 000

According to University prices


Living off-campus with family or non-accredited accommodation (own arrangements)

R5 200

R15 000


R7 500

Accredited private accommodation off-campus

R5 200

R15 000

Up to R53 000 (with lease agreement)


* The learning materials allowance is paid once-off.

** Living allowances, accommodation and transport allowances will be paid out in monthly instalments from February to November.

*** With the exception of students living in University-managed accommodation with catering, the NSFAS living allowances for all other categories of student include the provision for incidentals.

Please visit UP's Fees and Funding page for the latest information.

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