Frequently Asked Questions

What is ISFAP?

Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme
A Support and Funding model for financially needy students that fall under the categories of “Poor” and “Missing Middle” students.

Will ISFAP replace the National Student Financial Aid Scheme?

No, ISFAP will not replace NSFAS as ISFAP will cater for students outside of NSFAS’ realm. The NSFAS will continue to provide funding to poor students (defined as students from households whose annual income is between R0 – R350 000).

How are the students selected? What are the qualifying criteria?

  • A household means test is done for all applying students
  • Academic criteria and registration, which vary per institution but will include:
  • A National Benchmarking Test for some institutions (academic and behavioral strength)
  • Matric results
  • Funder constraints (that meet individual funder objectives) which will be applied to students applying

How do students apply?

Students can apply online at https://applyonline.isfap.org.za

What is the cost of funding per student?

The cost of funding varies per institution as ISFAP funds full cost of study. The average full cost of study per student is R166 668.00 (value based on funding of over 1700 students across multiple universities and courses)

What does the full cost of study mean/entail?

The full of cost of study is broken down into the following:

  • Tuition fees;
  • Accommodation;
  • Food;
  • Learning materials (calculator, textbooks, learning material);
  • Living allowance / pocket money;
  • Non-academic student support (project manager; tutorial support; life support; admin support; life skills training; staff mentors).

How will funding work?

Each student will receive enough funding to cover all tuition costs as well as accommodation and travel (if the student does not have accommodation), books, meals and a stipend (living allowance). This will be through a fully funded grant bursary. In addition, the Universities will provide students with academic support, social support, life skills training and medical support when required.

Where does ISFAP get its funds from?

As per the Ministerial Task Team’s recommendations, funding is being raised from:

  • Non-profit organisations;
  • Government institutions;
  • Development finance institutions;
  • Foundations and Private sector;
  • Local and international donors;
  • Private individuals.

What is the "Missing middle"?

“Poor” and “Missing Middle” students are defined based on the household income of the applying student. The household income bands that qualify under “Poor” and “Missing Middle” are:
Poor: R0- R350000
Missing Middle: R350000 - R600000

Why was ISFAP created?

In 2016 the then Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr. Blade Nzimande appointed Mr. Sizwe Nxasana to lead a Ministerial Task Team (MTT) to explore various options for funding the “poor” and “missing middle“ students who require financial assistance in order to succeed in tertiary education programmes. The MTT report that came out of this process proposed a model that brings together the Public and Private sectors together through a partnership to enable this objective.

A pilot programme was created to test aspects of this model and ran concurrently with a comprehensive feasibility study in line with Treasury Regulations to confirm student financing needs and review the proposed solution (which incorporated public comments). The pilot ended in 2018 with ISFAP being registered as a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO).

Which tertiary institutions has ISFAP partnered?

ISFAP has partnered with the following public universities/institutions and has representation in all these institutions:

  • Central University of Technology
  • Nelson Mandela University
  • University of Venda
  • Stellenbosch University
  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • University of Pretoria
  • Walter Sisulu University
  • University of Cape Town
  • Tshwane University of Technology
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • University of Johannesburg

ISFAP will in due course partner with all 26 Public Universities in South Africa.

Why were the above institutions chosen for the pilot?

The above-mentioned institutions have been chosen:

  • to ensure a mix between rural-based and urban institutions;
  • because they have larger proportions of missing middle students;
  • because they offer qualifications in the pilot’s chosen fields of study;
  • based on amount of limited funding which could be raised mainly from the private sector for the pilot.

Why were these specific areas of study chosen?

The programmes selected include occupations of high demand or scarce skills that have been identified as critical to South Africa’s economic development.

The programme will, through providing full funding for students, contribute to improving the employment prospects of graduates, while simultaneously creating a highly qualified and sustainable pipeline for these professions that our country so desperately needs.

What role does ISFAP play in addressing higher education imperatives in the country?

ISFAP plays a huge role in solving the funding challenges faced by “poor” and “missing middle” students, as well as in addressing other challenges which South Africa faces, such as graduate employability.

Through the proposed public-private partnership; ISFAP is an indication of the positive work that can be done when government and the private sector come together. The proposed PPP will see government be able to work to solve an issue of national importance (fees for poor and middle students) while giving business a sound initiative into which to invest funds that contribute to the future of their workforce.

What areas of study does ISFAP fund?

The areas of study funded by ISFAP vary for each institution. Below is a list per institution, although this is the current list as of May 2022, ISFAP will continue to add to this list of Universities and courses which align to the skills most needed by the Country under “Occupations of High Demand” as defined by the Department of Higher Education:

  • Central University of Technology
    • Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Mechanical Engineering
    • Bachelor of Engineer Tech in Electrical Engineering
    • Bachelor Of Construction in Construction Management
    • Bachelor Of Construction in Quantity Surveying
  • Nelson Mandela University
    • BEngTech (Marine Engineering)
    • BEngTech (Mechanical Engineering)
    • BEngTech (Industrial Engineering)
    • BEngTech (Electrical Engineering)
    • BEngTech (Civil Engineering)
    • BEng (Mechatronics)
    • BSc (Computer Science)
    • Bachelor of Science Construction Management
    • Bachelor of Science Quantity Surveying
    • Bachelor of Information Technology
    • Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting Science(Computer Science & Information Systems)
  • University of Venda
    • BCom (Cost and Man Acc)
    • BCom Economics
    • Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting Sciences)
  • Stellenbosch University
    • BCom (Management Accounting)
    • BCom (Financial Accounting) 
    • BCom (Actuarial Science) 
    • BSc in Food Science
    • BCom (Management Sciences) with focal area Quantitative Management
    • BCom (Mathematical Sciences) with focal area Operations Research
    • BCom (Management Sciences) with focal area Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management
    • BAcc
    • BEng Chemical Engineering
    • BCom (Management Sciences) with focal area Marketing Management
    • BEng Civil Engineering
    • BCom (Management Sciences) with focal area Logistics Management
    • BEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering
    • BCom (Mathematical Sciences)
    • BEng Industrial Engineering
    • BCom (Management Sciences)
    • BEng Mechanical Engineering
    • BCom (Economic Sciences)
    • BEng Mechatronic Engineering
    • BCom
    • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB)
  • University of the Witwatersrand
    • Bachelor of Pharmacy
    • BSc (Eng) - Industrial Engineering
    • BSc in Electrical and Information Engineering
    • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
    • Bachelor of Economic Science
    • BSc Mining Engineering
    • Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy
    • Bachelor of Nursing
    • BSc Engineering (Metallurgy & Material)
    • Bachelor of Science in Construction Studies
    • Bcom Accounting
    • Bcom Information Systems
    • Bachelor of Science
    • Bachelor of Accounting Science
    • BSc (Eng) - Chemical Engineering
    • BSc (Eng) - Mechanical Engineering
    • BSc (Eng) - Aeronautical Engineering
    • BSc (Eng) - Civil Engineering
    • BSc (Eng) - Electrical Engineering
    • MBBCh - Medicine
    • BSc - Mathematical Sciences
    • BSc - Actuarial Science
    • BSc - Mathematics of Finance
    • BCom - Bachelor of Commerce
  • University of Pretoria
    • BEng Chemical Engineering
    • BEng Civil Engineering
    • BEng Computer Engineering
    • BEng Electrical Engineering
    • BEng Electronic Engineering
    • BEng Industrial Engineering
    • BEng Mechanical Engineering
    • BEng Metallurgical Engineering
    • BEng Mining Engineering
    • BCom Accounting Sciences
    • BSc Actuarial and Financial Mathematics
    • MBChB
    • BSc Mathematical Statistics
    • BSc Quantity Surveying
    • Bachelor in Town and Regional Planning
    • BCom Supply Chain Management
    • BCom Business Management
    • Bachelor of Nursing Science (B Nur)
    • BIT (Information Systems)
    • BCom Financial Sciences
    • BCom (Econometrics)
    • Bcom Information Science
    • Bcom Statistics and Data Science
    • BSc IT (Information and Knowledge Systems)
    • BTown and Regional Planning Town and Regional Planning
    • BSc Computer Science
    • BSc Food Science
    • Bcom (Economics & Management Sc)
  • Walter Sisulu University
    • B Tech: Engineering: Civil
    • B Tech: Engineering: Electrical
    • Bachelor of Medicine in Clinical Practice
    • B Tech in Electrical Engineering
    • Bachelor of Science (Physics with Chemistry)
    • Bachelor of Science (Chemistry)
    • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB)
    • Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences
    • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences
    • BSc Statistics
    • Bachelor of Medical Sciences
  • University of Cape Town
    • Bachelor of Business Science in Actuarial Science
    • Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Electrical and Computer Engineering
    • Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Electrical Engineering
    • Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Mechatronics
    • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering
    • Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Civil Engineering
    • Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Mechanical Engineering
    • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB)
    • Occupational Therapy
    • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
    • Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
    • Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy
    • BSc in Property Studies
    • BSc in Construction Studies
    • Bachelor of Commerce specializing in FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING: CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT
    • Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering
    • Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Information Systems & Finance
    • BCom
    • Bachelor of Data Science (BDatSc) - Statistical Genetics as field of study
    • Bachelor of Data Science (BDatSc) with focal area Analytics and Optimisation
    • Bachelor of Data Science (BDatSc) with focal area Behavioural Economics
    • Bachelor of Data Science (BDatSc) with focal area Statistical Learning
    • BCom Mathematical Sciences with focal area Data Science
    • Bachelor of Data Science (BDatSc) - Computer Science stream
    • Bachelor of Data Science (BDatSc) - Applied Mathematics
    • Bachelor of Data Science (BDatSc) - Statistical Physics stream
    • Bachelor of Data Science (BDatSc) - Geoinformatics focal area
  • Tshwane University of Technology
    • Bachelor of Health Science in Medical Orthotics and Prosthetics
    • Bachelor of Nursing Science (B Nur)
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal
    • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB)
    • Bachelor of Nursing Science (B Nur)
    • Bachelor of Occupational Therapy
    • Bachelor of Pharmacy
    • Bachelor of Physiotherapy
    • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering
    • Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
    • Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering
    • Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
    • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
    • Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting
    • Bachelor of Business Science
  • University of Johannesburg
    • BEng Tech (Industrial Engineering)
    • BEngTech (Chemical Engineering)
    • BSc Construction Management
    • BEng Tech Physical Metallurgy
    • Bachelor of Urban and Regional planning
    • BEng Tech Extraction Metallurgy
    • BCom Logistics Management
    • ND Retailing
    • Adv Diploma Retail Business Management
    • Bachelor of Mine Surveying
    • BEng Tech (Mining Engineering)
    • BSc Mathematical Sciences
    • BCom Finance
    • Bachelor of Human Resource Management
    • BCom in Economics and Econometrics
    • BACHELOR OF ACCOUNTING CA-STREAM
    • Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting
    • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Informatics
    • BEng Tech in Mechanical Engineering
    • BEng Tech in Electrical Engineering
    • BEng in Mechanical Engineering
    • BEng in Electrical & Electronic Engineering
ISFAP - the Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme - 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 provided the candidate meets certain prescribed requirements.
©  Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme Foundation NPC

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