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Nelson Mandela University is gearing up for the start of formal academic activity next week, following an earlier agreement to use this week to prepare students and allow time for the finalisation of their funding and registration statuses.

The University will continue with a multi-modal approach to learning and teaching, with campuses being readied for the return of those students who will be partaking in on-site mask-to-mask academic activity and staying at University residences.

This week has therefore seen some new students arriving on campus and participating in the ongoing orientation programme, which is aimed at assisting them in getting “digi-ready” in preparation for the online aspect of their studies.

Staff working in the offices that are critical to ensuring as smooth as possible a transition to the academic year, who have been working remotely as a result of the pandemic, have returned to campus to fast-track processes and assist with any enquiries.


As funding confirmation continues coming in from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), and more students are cleared for registration through the University’s financial concessions, there has been a significant growth in the number of students registering for their 2021 studies.

To date, a total 20 467 students have registered, which has risen from 12 356 at the same time last week. Of these, 18 725 (up from 11 023) are undergraduates – including 3 452 first year students – and 1 742 (up from 1 333) are postgraduate students.

These figures are set to increase as students register, which will continue until 05 April 2021. Late registration will take effect from then, until 16 April 2021.

For students who have been admitted to the University, and confirmed their acceptance, SMSs are being sent with the relevant information to enable their successful registration. This is line with the University’s commitment to ensure that all admitted students register.

Once registered, new students should e-mail their student number, campus (where their qualification will be offered) and a head-and-shoulders photograph of themselves to for Nelson Mandela Bay campuses and for students studying at the George Campus.

Returning students need not obtain a new student card, as their current card will be renewed upon registration for 2021.

Financial Aid

The University’s Financial Aid office has been working to load NSFAS funding statuses and clear students for registration. Allowances have been paid to 7 060 students, with 6 434 in the process of being disbursed at present.

For “missing middle” students, who are academically deserving but do not qualify for NSFAS funding, although struggling to afford fees, a number of applications have been processed towards the University’s financial concessions. For those who meet the criteria, the concessions include the rollover of debt, a down-payment exemption, being cleared for registration and signing an acknowledgement of debt (AOD) form.

Thus far, 4 553 applications have been received, with 2 561 of those having been assessed, and 1 734 approved. For those approved, 576 AODs have been issued. This is an ongoing process, with numbers expected to increase as more applications are received and processed.


As students arrive on campus, the Student Housing Office has been allocating rooms those admitted to residences. Thus far, 4 466 students have arrived to take up their places at the University’s on-campus and accredited off-campus residences. At the Nelson Mandela Bay on-campus residences, 1 762 have been allocated rooms, with 335 at George Campus. At the Bay and George off-campus residences, 2 302 and 67 students have been allocated rooms, respectively.


Staff and students needing to be on campus should be in possession of an e-Permit, in keeping with the ongoing COVID-19 compliance measures and the University’s efforts to monitor numbers on campus.

More than 11 050 e-Permits have been accepted and issued to new and senior students to date.

Coronavirus Information

It should be noted that although we may be in the less restrictive lockdown Alert Level 1, the virus remains active. As such, students are urged to continue with their COVID-19 safety protocols of wearing masks, maintaining physical distance and ensuring good hygiene practices.

For additional coronavirus related information, go to the My Mandela Return to Campus Student Guide or consult the coronavirus website.

Communication and Marketing

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777