What is the NSFAS N+2 Rule?

NSFAS N+2 Rule

Students from poor and working-class families benefit from NSFAS’ efficient and effective financial aid program. The program aims to address financial barriers that often prevent students from accessing tertiary education. When you receive funding from NSFAS, however, there are certain rules. The NSFAS N+2 Rule is one of them. 

What is the NSFAS N+Rule?

NSFAS N+2 Rule

It takes N+2 years for students to complete a degree based on the N+2 rule. In terms of record time, “N” refers to the minimum number of years allocated for completing a qualification. A student may require an additional two years (making the maximum time) to complete the qualification.

The length of time a student must attend a university would then be referred to. Once the maximum duration of 5 years is reached, funding is no longer available.

A three-year qualification, for example, may be completed within a five-year period if the university allows [+2] years.

Moreover, the NSFAS N+2 Rule does not apply to a student’s funding history, but to their registration at any public university in South Africa, regardless of institution changes, for the past two academic years.

When NSFAS states that your application was unsuccessful because you exceeded the N+2 rule, it means you have studied longer than the minimum time allocated for your degree as well as the additional two years granted to complete it.

Students are, however, sympathized with by NSFAS. Financial aid officers at students’ respective institutions could possibly fund students if they have exceeded the number of years allowed for funding but only need a few courses/modules to complete their qualifications. 

NSFAS has said that funding students for a long time is unfair because it will prevent NSFAS from funding any new students and will also limit the opportunities for new students entering the system. 

Importance of the NSFAS N+2 Rule

In order for students receiving NSFAS funding to succeed academically, the N2 rule is critical. The N2 rule motivates students to focus on their studies and perform their best by requiring them to pass at least 50% of their modules in their first year.

The N2 rule also encourages students to take their studies seriously and prioritize their academic work. Following the N2 rule increases the likelihood of students completing their degree programs successfully and finding better jobs after graduation.

Implications of the NSFAS N+2 Rule

In case students fail to comply with the N2 rule, there are considerable implications. Failure to pass 50% of your modules in your first year may result in you losing your NSFAS funding for your second year. Financial challenges may arise from the loss of funding, resulting in students dropping out of school.

A student’s performance in subsequent years can also be affected by not adhering to the N2 rule. In the second year, students who struggled in their first year are more likely to encounter challenges. Therefore, students should take the N2 rule seriously and improve their academic performance as a result of it.

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How to meet the NSFAS N+2 Rule requirement

NSFAS N+2 Rule

For students to receive NSFAS funding, they must meet N2 rule requirements. To assist students in meeting the N2 rule requirement, here are some strategies:

  • Take good notes in class and attend regularly.
  • Make academic work a priority and develop good study habits.
  • If needed, seek the assistance of tutors, professors, or academic advisors.
  • Regularly review course material and prepare for exams.
  • Collaborate with classmates and attend study groups.

Maintaining good mental health is also important for students

Socializing, exercising, and sleeping are important aspects of maintaining good health and balancing academics and other aspects of life. Students who implement these strategies will be more likely to succeed academically and meet the N2 rule requirements.

In summary, NSFAS funding requires students to follow the N2 rule. As a result, students are motivated to prioritize their academic work and strive to achieve academic success. Following the N2 rule increases the chances of students completing their degree programs successfully and getting better jobs after graduation.

The N2 rule must be understood and taken seriously by students. It is important that students follow the N2 rule to ensure their academic success, as well as to keep receiving NSFAS financial support. The NSFAS N+2 Rule requirement should therefore be prioritized and met by students.

Also, read Unisa NSFAS Allowances

Does the NSFAS N+2 rule still exist?

The N+2 Rule still exists! Students complained that the N+2 rule was not applied to their appeals, which was confirmed by the Ministry of Higher Education.

For university students, completing their studies within the prescribed period or recording time for their qualification remains the responsibility. In cases where students have failed modules, and need additional funding of no more than two years, the N+2 rule provides extra funding for them. 

Also, read Nsfas Allowances For University Students in 2023

How Does the NSFAS N+2 Rule Work?

It is easy to understand the N+2 Rule. Applicants who need extra funding for no more than two years but did not complete their qualification in record time may appeal to NSFAS for additional financial aid. 

Your appeal will be considered successful if you are awarded funding for two more years. 

What Does the N Stand For In the NSFAS N+2 Rule?

An N indicates how many years a student needs to complete a tertiary qualification. As a result of the “N” number of years, which is also known as the record time, funding is allocated accordingly. 

NSFAS agrees to fund a student for the minimum period – “N” the student will need to complete the chosen qualification once they receive a firm offer from an institution. 

What Does The +2 Stand For In The NSFAS N+2 Rule?

Students who exceed the prescribed period of completion for their qualification are eligible to receive funding for an additional two years of study under the N+2 rule.

Any outstanding credits will have an extra 2 years to be completed by eligible students. 

When Do You Need NSFAS N+2 Rule?

The NSFAS N+2 Rule might be necessary if you haven’t completed your qualification within the prescribed number of years. It is possible, however, only if your qualification requires no more than two years of additional funding.

If the additional +2 years of financial aid have been exhausted, NSFAS will not provide funding to the student. 

Can you appeal N+ rule NSFAS?

NSFAS N+2 Rule

Applicants whose qualification requires the predetermined additional years of funding cannot appeal the NSFAS N+Rule since it is standard. 

To prevent depriving newer applicants of the opportunity to receive funding due to budget constraints, the N+ Rule ensures that NSFAS will not fund beneficiaries longer than necessary. 

Having a funding limit allows NSFAS to distribute funding equally among beneficiaries, while also ensuring that students do not spend too much time in the system. 

In the event that you exhaust the +2 additional years of funding and still do not meet the minimum credits for graduation, you will be automatically disqualified from NSFAS funds, and you will need to seek alternative financial aid.

Also, read NSFAS Payment Schedule

When more than two years are needed, will NSFAS use the N+2 rule?

NSFAS beneficiaries who require only two extra years to finish their studies are subject to the N+2 Rule. The N+2 rule does not apply to students who require additional funding for more than two years from the financial aid scheme. 

In order to ensure that beneficiaries do not exceed the maximum tertiary funding allocated per student, NSFAS has strict funding policies in place. The N+2 rule serves a primary purpose. 

South African undergraduate degrees are typically completed in 3 or 4 years. All undergraduate qualifications are subject to the N+2 Rule. In cases where a beneficiary requires funding for more than two extra years, NSFAS will not provide it. 

Students whose N+1 and N+2 rules are not met will automatically be defunded from NSFAS. 

Does NSFAS N+2 Rule Effect When You Change Institution?

There is no impact on the N+2 Rule when institutions change.

A student’s NSFAS eligibility is determined by how long they have been enrolled in a tertiary institution, not by how long they have received financial aid. 

In order to determine how much funding you may be eligible for if you change institutions, NSFAS will take into account the number of years you were previously enrolled at any public institution – regardless of whether NSFAS funded you at your previous institution. 

Financial aid providers are able to detect when a student switches tertiary institutions because NSFAS tracks funding allocated to students using their personal information.

Also, read Which Documents Must Be Submitted For NSFAS Appeals?


What happens if a student does not meet the N2 rule requirement?

Students who do not pass at least 50% of their modules in their first-year risk losing NSFAS funding for their second year.

Are there exceptions to the N2 rule?

Yes, exceptions exist for students pursuing programs with extended study periods, such as medicine, engineering, and law.

How can students meet the N2 rule requirement?

In order to meet the N2 rule requirement, students should attend classes regularly, develop good study habits, seek assistance if needed, review course materials regularly, and participate in study groups.

Is the N2 rule applicable to all NSFAS students?

Yes, the N2 rule applies to all students receiving NSFAS funding, regardless of their field of study.

What is the purpose of the N2 rule?

As a result of the N2 rule, NSFAS funding recipients must make satisfactory academic progress and work towards academic success.


As a result, it is important for students receiving NSFAS funding to follow the N2 rule. It motivates students to work hard toward academic success and prioritize their academic work. In order to qualify for NSFAS financial aid and succeed in their educational goals, students must adhere to the N2 rule. Students must therefore understand the importance of the NSFAS N+2 Rule and take it seriously in order to succeed academically.

Please contact NSFAS or your institution’s financial aid office if you have any further questions regarding the N2 rule or NSFAS.

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