Communiqué – NSFAS Postgraduate Funding for Honours and Final Year BTech Students for the 2024 Academic Year

Communiqué – NSFAS Postgraduate Funding for Honours and Final Year BTech Students for the 2024 Academic Year

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 2024 onwards.
Undergraduate students previously funded by NSFAS for their undergraduate degrees are encouraged to apply for Honours or B Tech funding on the current “NRF Freestanding, Innovation and Scarce Skills Honours / B Tech call for 2024” on the NRF Online Submission System, details of which are highlighted below.
1.         Objectives

  • 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.

2.         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

3.         Eligibility

  • 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.
4.         Non-eligibility

  • 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.

5.         Application Process
Students must first identify the university where they will be registered for the Honours or final-year B Tech degree. Applications for funding in 2024 must then be submitted, to the university where they intend to register, through the NRF Online Submission System by accessing the link: The Call for applications will close on 31 January 2024.
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 2024.
6.         Evaluation Criteria
Each university will evaluate applications submitted by the students intending to study at the respective institution using the scorecard provided by the NRF. 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

Criteria Description Weight
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%

7.    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.
8.    Equity and Redress
In line with the national imperative of equity and redress, NSFAS postgraduate bursaries will be approved according to the following set equity targets;

  • 85% blacks,
  • 55% women; and
  • 4% students with disabilities.

9.    Selection Criteria

  • Ministerial guidelines on demographic targets for equity and redress; and
  • Availability of budget

10. 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.
11.      Funding Principle
The NSFAS bursaries for Honours and final year B Tech students are aimed at increasing the throughput rates of postgraduate students at public higher education institutions. Consideration will be given to ensuring the need to strengthen research capacity in scarce skills, priority skills and knowledge fields as well as to accelerate the demographic transformation of the next generation of researchers.
Allocation of funding will be governed by the annual budget availability.
*Relevant documents on National Priority Research Areas:
Dr Mbulelo Ncango
Director – Human and Infrastructure Capacity Development (HICD). Telephone: 012 481 4390.
Mrs Fulufhelo Malamatsho
Professional Officer – HICD. Telephone: 012 481 4166. E-mail:
Mr Mduduzi Tshabangu
Professional Officer – HICD. Telephone: 012 481 4148. E-mail:
Mrs Thandeka Mthethwa
Liaison Officer – Grants Management and Systems Administration (GMSA). Telephone: 012 481 4163.

Opening Date:
Tuesday, 17 January, 2024
Closing Date:
Tuesday, 31 January, 2024