The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) have reached an agreement to create synergies in the funding support for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Therefore, the application process for the National Skills Fund (NSF), for Honours and B Tech postgraduate funding will be managed by the NRF from 2017 onwards.
Undergraduate students previously funded by NSFAS for their undergraduate degrees are encouraged to apply for Honours or B Tech funding on the NRF Online Submission System. The Call for applications will close on 31 January 2017.
Details are highlighted below.
- Identify students, registered in postgraduate study programmes at universities and universities of technology, who are eligible for financial aid as determined by the NSFAS Means Test;
- Provide bursary awards to students who have been admitted to study for a respective postgraduate programme at a public higher education institution as defined in section 1 of the Higher Education Act, No. 101 of 1997;
- Contribute towards the increase in the number and quality of South African postgraduate students (Honours and final-year B Tech) in all areas of (i) Science, (ii) Engineering and (iii) Technology;
- Effect transformation in the percentage representation of postgraduate students, as defined above, from designated groups viz. black, female and persons with disabilities in line with equity targets as identified by the Skills Development Act of 1998; and
- Support the development of postgraduate training to meet the specific needs of the country in conjunction with the higher education sector and industry.
Areas of Support
The bursary is intended to support Honours and final-year B Tech students in the following fields of study (Table 1) at public universities in South Africa:
Table 1: Honours and Final year B Tech qualifications eligible for NSFAS postgraduate funding
|Honours||Final Year B Tech|
|Accounting||B Tech: Architectural Technology|
|Actuarial Studies||B Tech: Architecture (Professional)|
|Agriculture||B Tech: Biokinetics|
|Auditing||B Tech: Biomedical Technology|
|Biotechnology||B Tech: Cartography|
|Business Management||B Tech: Chiropractic|
|Chemistry||B Tech: Clinical Technology|
|Computer Science||B Tech: Dental Technology|
|Economics||B Tech: Emergency Medical Care|
|Engineering||B Tech: Engineering: Chemical|
|Financial Accounting||B Tech: Engineering: Civil|
|Financial Management||B Tech: Engineering: Electrical|
|Geology||B Tech: Engineering: Industrial|
|Information Systems||B Tech: Engineering: Mechanical|
|Mathematical Sciences||B Tech: Engineering: Mechanical: Mechatronics|
|Physics||B Tech: Engineering: Metallurgy|
|Statistics||B Tech: Engineering: Refractories|
|B Tech: Forestry|
|B Tech: Homoeopathy|
|B Tech: Nursing|
|B Tech: Nursing Science|
|B Tech: Community Nursing|
|B Tech: Primary Health Care|
|B Tech: Nursing: Occupational Nursing|
- South African citizens only.
The eligibility criteria applies to applicants for Honours and final-year B Tech who are intending to register full-time at a South African public university.
- South African permanent residents;
- Applicants that already hold an Honours or B Tech degree; and
- Students pursuing an undergraduate degree are not eligible irrespective of the degree for which they are enrolled.
Students must first identify the university where they will be registered for the Honours or final-year B Tech degree. Applications for funding in 2017 must then be submitted, to the university where they intend to register, through the NRF Online Submission System by accessing the link: https://nrfsubmission.nrf.ac.za/. The Call for applications will close on 31 January 2017. Further instructions on the application process are available in the NRF Freestanding, Innovation and Scarce Skills Development Fund Honours Block Grant Application and Funding Guide for 2017.
The following will be considered in evaluating all students’ applications (Table 2):
- Students previously funded by NSFAS or the University Financial Aid Scheme for their undergraduate degree;
- Priority research area of study to be supported;
- Intention to continue with Master’s degree upon completion of the Honours or B Tech degree; and
- Average percentage mark for previous degree.
Table 2: Scorecard for the assessment of applications for Honours and final year B Tech Scholarships
|Academic Merit||Average percentage mark for previous degree.||15%|
|Career path||Intention to continue with Master’s degree.||15%|
|Priority Research Area||Research aligned with one of the national research priority areas*.||25%|
|National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) or University Financial Aid Scheme||Previously funded by NSFAS or University Financial Aid Scheme (proof must be attached).||45%|
Student Nominations and NRF Approval
The NRF will allocate a block grant of a set number of bursaries to each university based on historical uptake, expressed need and the available budget. Institutions will use a standard score card provided by the NRF to evaluate each application, before selecting and nominating students to take up the allocated bursaries. The NRF will not approve nominations that do not comply with these criteria. Students who are unable to submit an academic transcript due to outstanding fees must not be screened out. However, they must attach proof of outstanding fees from the university with an institutional stamp and signature.
Value of Support
Bursary values for full-time Honours and final year B Tech students will be set at R76 000. The bursary support is for one (1) year only and is not renewable.
Contact Persons for inquiries:
Mr Mautle Mothapo: firstname.lastname@example.org/ 011 559 4530
Mr Thabiso Masango: email@example.com/ 011 559 3287
For more information and contact details, read these documents: NSFAS funding for final year B Tech and Honours students – FISS Honours and B Tech application guide.