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APPLICATIONS to study at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in 2016 have increased by more than 80%.

The University’s decision to provide free online applications in 2015, in line with its commitment to widen student access to higher education, especially to academically-deserving but financially needy students, has seen its applications rocket to unprecedented levels.

The 64 095 applications received so far as compared to the 37 004 applications received at the same time last year (please know that many students apply more than once so this is not an accurate representation of the individual number of students who applied), has converted to 6 602 confirmed applications to date (Thursday 11 January), but with many more applications still in the system due to the massive influx of requests.


Many of the latter applicants still need to complete their testing assessment, another of NMMU’s interventions towards its commitment of widening student access to university study. If students do not meet the direct admission requirements for their chosen programme, but their total score falls within the testing band they are invited to write a test to see if they have the ability to complete their chosen degree or diploma.

Close to 40% of NMMU’s graduates to date entered the University via this method of creating a second opportunity for access. NMMU is the only university in South Africa to offer this option (see adjacent article).

Apart from the daily testing at NMMU, the university has 10 other testing sites around the country.

The University has also increased its efforts to ensure that students who are academically deserving but financially challenged are given the opportunity to study further.

Late applications

Although late applications closed on 30 October, NMMU is accepting “walk-ins” whose APS (admission point score) allows for direct access into programmes that are not yet full. The “walk-in” window period was extended to Friday 15 January.

While the bulk of NMMU’s programmes are full or almost full, there are a number of programmes that still have places available. However, most require good Maths and Science marks.


The LLB Law degree, Dietetics, Industrial Engineering, Polymer Technology and Human Settlement Development are among these programmes. The latter, which requires an APS of 36 and Maths and Science, is offering 50 bursaries to suitable candidates.

The University constantly updates its list of full programmes. This list and other information around the admission process, debt relief and important forthcoming dates are all available on the NMMU website (


Similarly, NMMU has been inundated with applications for residence.

While all its on-campus residences with 3 867 beds in total are full, the NMMU has implemented accredited off-campus housing in a bid to meet an ever-growing demand for student accommodation. Close to 3 800 beds are now also available, including 21 large properties, throughout the metro.

Preference is given to first-year students for accommodation on campus, with 900 places made available for them.

The University’s on-campus residences open on 19 January but NMMU is already assisting many students with overnight emergency accommodation.


University management is working closely with the broader student leadership at NMMU. Briefing meetings take place daily to ensure any problems encountered in the process of implementation are resolved in good time. This has proved effective in seeking immediate solutions to challenges.


NMMU’s online registration opens on Monday 18 January, while face-to-face registration for first years begins on 25 January.

The University expects between 5 000 and 6 000 students to officially register.

Contact information
Mrs Debbie Derry
Deputy Director: Communication
Tel: 041 504 3057