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Change the world


Nelson Mandela University is gearing up to welcome back all its students, including first years, for the 2021 academic year. 

Continuing with online learning and limited on-site “mask-to-mask” work as we moved towards the conclusion of the 2020 academic year, which was extended to the end of February, as a result of the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the academic programme. Plans are in place for a successful start of the 2021 studies in March.

Learning and Teaching plans for the 2021 academic year continue to prioritise health and safety, with a continued commitment to availing learning opportunities for the University’s diverse pool of students. The guiding principles remain social justice, agility, adaptability and flexibility in this fluid time.

Some programmes will be fully online, while others will be a mixture of content teaching being online and experiential learning being mask-to-mask on campus or in the workplace. There is a list of programmes per faculty which indicates whether they will be fully online or require students to come onto campus for academic activities. Students must plan their accommodation accordingly.

Furthermore, students without a laptop, stable connectivity and data, and a conducive space to study are encouraged to be in Port Elizabeth or George, so that they can access our general and specialised computer labs and Wi-Fi on campus and in our student residences, even if all their modules are online.

All mask-to-mask activities will take place in venues that are COVID-19 compliant and all the necessary health protocols are in place for students and staff to mask-up, practice physical distancing and to sanitise their hands regularly.

Operating under adjusted lockdown Alert Level 3, where there are restrictions to the number of people allowed to be physically on campus, the bulk of administrative work is done remotely.  This effectively means that the University minimizes face-to-face interactions on campus, and all relevant information is made available on the institution’s digital communication platforms.  In addition, staff can be reached via email.

A lot of work has gone into bolstering the institution’s digital communication offering to enable the efficient sharing of critical information pertaining to University access matters. For the list of online services available to new and returning students, follow

Admissions of first-time entering undergraduate students:

The University’s Student Access Office has processed all the applications received up to 14 November 2020 and has communicated with the respective applicants concerning their admissions statuses ongoing.  Applicants need not come to the University to submit their final examination results.

The University has received the final NSC/IEB/SACAI results from the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and began making firm admission offers to provisionally accepted students from 23 February 2021. Those who receive a firm offer have five days in which to accept or decline. A timeous response will enable the University to make offers to those applicants presently on the waiting list, where necessary.

 A reminder that, as advised by Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the University will not be accepting any late applications. Applicants who have not applied to the University and are still looking for spaces are advised to make use of the DHET’s Central Application Clearing House (CACH) facility, which is due to open from today (23 February 2021).


Due to COVID-19 restrictions and ongoing efforts to minimise the numbers on campus as part of safety protocols, there will be no face-to-face registration on campus. Cognisant of the fact that some students may not be familiar with the online registration process, virtual advice sessions will be set up for first-time entering undergraduate students to assist in this regard.

Online registration opened on 11 January 2021 for students admitted for their under- and postgraduate studies and will continue until 16 April 2021.  It should be noted that online registration done from 05 April 2021 is considered late registration and is subject to payment of a late registration fee.

Financial Aid:

As the 2020 academic year is being finalised, students are awaiting their funding statuses from NSFAS. For new students, their final admissions statuses are being finalised following receipt of the matric results yesterday (23 February 2021).  The University’s Financial Aid office will now finalise new students’ funding statuses for 2021 as received from and approved by NSFAS.

For returning students, the University’s Financial Aid office has been uploading all academic results templates from the beginning of February, for those students who had completed the 2020 academic year and did not have any pending re-assessments. If the returning students meet the NSFAS Progression Rules, NSFAS will record the approved students on the NSFAS Funded List, which will allow the Financial Aid office to load the necessary registration statuses to enable Academic and Accommodation registration.

The Financial Aid office will start loading the NSFAS funded statuses for senior students after 24 February 2021, based on the 2021 NSFAS Funded List extracted from the NSFAS Portal.

It is important to note that the Financial Aid office does not receive and process NSFAS applications and works with confirmed funding statuses as received from the national financial aid scheme. That said, however, Mandela University’s Financial Aid office remains committed to helping students to access the funding assistance for which they qualify.


As at 23 February 2021, the total number of students who have returned to residences for conclusion of the 2020 academic year stands at 2 657. Of those, 798 are in Port Elizabeth on-campus residences, while 101 are in the George Campus on-campus residences. For the Port Elizabeth accredited off-campus accommodation, 1 714 students have returned, with 44 at George accredited off-campus establishments.

Mandela University’s Student Housing unit continues to deal with the finalisation of residence admissions for new students.  With the release of the matric results, firm accommodation offers will be made this week to those who have been provisionally accepted.

Students arriving on campus are required to quarantine for 10 days, and as such, they are advised to arrive by 05 March 2021, to allow for the allocated quarantine period, before the start of lectures on 15 March.

First-year Orientation and Welcoming Ceremony:

The annual Welcoming Ceremony, at which Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sibongile Muthwa, addresses first-year students and their parents or guardians, will be held virtually on 06 March 2021. This will be preceded by the series of faculty introductory sessions, which will also be held virtually, as follows:

Monday 1 March at 17:30

Faculty of Business and Economic Sciences

Tuesday 2 March at 17:30

Faculty of Engineering, the Build Environment and Technology

Wednesday 3 March at 17:30

Faculty of Education

Wednesday 3 March at 19:00

Faculty of Law

Thursday 4 March at 17:30

Faculty of Health Sciences

Thursday 4 March at 19:00

Faculty of Humanities

Friday 5 March at 17:30

Faculty of Science

Friday 5 March at 19:00

George Campus (with a welcoming address from the George Campus Principal, Dr Kaluke Mawila)

Links to the above mentioned sessions will be made available on the University website.

The orientation programme will also be conducted online, and students will be able to join in via the First Year Success Orientation programme’s social media pages. Orientation will include activities for first-years to get “digi–ready”, so that they are prepared to use the various programmes and platforms for online learning and they develop some of the know-how and skills to engage with online learning.


Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777