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Nelson Mandela University shares its current year’s academic update

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As Nelson Mandela University gears up for the start of the 2023 academic year, several systems and processes have been put in place towards ensuring a smooth admissions and registration process.

A significant challenge that arises at the start of each academic year relates to student funding, which essentially enables several processes such as academic and residence registration, the disbursement of allowances to funded students and so forth.

The University has always been resolute in its commitment to social justice and remains committed to ongoing efforts to widen access to higher education for students from poor and working-class backgrounds.

This includes institutional efforts towards ensuring that no academically deserving, financially needy student is denied access to higher education due to financial constraints. As such, the institution has made available a number of concessions since 2016.

Financial concessions

The concessions are granted to qualifying academically deserving students that are unfunded and whose family income does not exceed R600 000. This allows the student to register with outstanding debt and be exempt from down payment on tuition and on-campus accommodation.

All outstanding debt is not to exceed the cost of the previous semester. A case-by-case review is done for students whose debt is in excess of this. If successful, an acknowledgement of debt is signed.

In 2023, these concessions are granted to students who meet the following criteria:

Family/Household income South African citizen
Admitted as a fulltime student for either first undergraduate or first postgraduate qualification
Be defined as academically deserving
Students doing a second postgraduate qualification, which is a vertical movement e.g., honours to master’s degree – vertical progression is allowed
Not previously NSFAS funded at other institutions
Ex-FTE students of 2022 must provide proof that they have applied for NSFAS funding for the 2023 academic year.
Once their applications for concessions are successful, students who comply with the above-mentioned criteria, and owe the University fees from 30 September 2022 will be cleared for registration and will not be required to sign an acknowledgement of debt (AOD) form.

Those with outstanding debt for June and September 2022 only will need to sign an AOD, while those whose debt goes beyond this period (including the previous year’s debt) should settle the previous year’s debt and sign an AOD for their 2022 outstanding to be cleared for registration.

The concessions do not extend to medical (MBChB) first year students and those doing part-time or occasional studies programmes.

A total 1 710 applications were received for institutional financial concessions and, as at 25 January 2023, a total 191 were awarded.

Financial Aid and NSFAS

Applications for the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) opened on 1 September 2022, and the closing date was extended to 31 January 2023. Upon confirmation of students’ funding status from NSFAS, the University’s Financial Aid office clears students to register and receive the applicable allowances.

Funding confirmation (funded list) for first-time entering students who are also recipients of a South African Social Security Agency grant were received by the Financial Aid office from NSFAS on Tuesday, 24 January 2023. As at 25 January 2023, a total 4 299 were given statuses and cleared for registration.