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Missing Middle Loans Could Extend NSFAS Applications



Missing Middle Loans Could Extend NSFAS Applications

Missing Middle Loans Could Extend NSFAS Applications. In 2024, thousands of NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) student loans were made available for missing middle students by the financial aid scheme. This move aims to bridge the gap for those who exceed the household income threshold set by NSFAS but still face financial barriers to higher education. Here’s a detailed look into the NSFAS comprehensive loans and their current status.

Comprehensive Funding Model for Missing Middle Students

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande launched the Comprehensive Funding Model in 2024, which marks a significant step toward supporting missing middle students. These are individuals from households with incomes exceeding the NSFAS threshold of R350,000 but unable to afford higher education costs. The model introduces student loans to provide financial aid to this demographic, offering relief to many aspiring students.

Clarification on NSFAS Loans

Despite the confirmation of funding for missing middle students, there has been limited information on how these loans operate. However, a recent consultative session shed light on the NSFAS immunisation of the loans. Vuyokazi Mafilika, Strategic Enablement Executive at NSFAS, affirmed that the loans target the missing middle demographic, whose annual household incomes range from above the R350,000 NSFAS threshold to below R600,000.

Current Status of NSFAS Loans for 2024

The application period for NSFAS student loans closed in February 2024, sparking questions about funding decisions and the release of funding lists. Mafilika assured stakeholders that NSFAS is working to share a list of provisionally accepted students with institutions. This list will identify eligible students and any outstanding documentation required for final approval.

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Next Steps for Students

Provisionally funded students must complete two essential steps before accessing NSFAS funding. Firstly, they need to sign a pre-agreement form acknowledging the loan’s conditions. Secondly, they must sign a loan agreement, which includes a surety clause. Only after these steps are completed can students be certain of their funding.

Possible Extension on Applications

Concerns have been raised about the timing of implementing the Loan Scheme, especially for undergraduate students already well into the academic year. Mafilika acknowledged these concerns and hinted at a possible extension on applications to accommodate affected students.

Loan Allocation and Repayment

The NSFAS loan scheme allocates 70% of its funds to STEM qualifications and 30% to Humanities qualifications. This allocation was determined by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), considering employment prospects and loan repayment capabilities. Repayment is assessed based on combined household income, with no immediate repayment requirement for employed students.

Postgraduate Funding Expansion

The NSFAS loan scheme extends beyond undergraduate studies to cover postgraduate qualifications. Mafilika stated NSFAS’s commitment to expanding provisions for postgraduate funding, including research-based qualifications. This reflects a broader effort to support students across all levels of education.


The NSFAS comprehensive loans represent a significant stride towards inclusivity in higher education funding, particularly for missing middle students. With ongoing discussions and potential extensions on applications, NSFAS aims to ensure equitable access to education for all aspiring students.

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