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Nelson Mandela University has made considerable strides in addressing the myriad of challenges raised by students in the past few weeks.

Through continuous engagement with student leadership, pressing issues affecting students’ access to the 2023 academic year are being systematically dealt with.

Among the remaining matters are issues related to the accommodation of unfunded Advanced Diploma students, shuttle services, allowances and the University’s financial concessions.

A progress update on these is as follows:


Late registration continues until 15 March 2023, with 28 911 students having registered at the University to date for the 2023 academic year. Of those registered thus far, 16 301 are NSFAS-funded students (4 812 first-time entering students [FTENs] and 11 489 returning students).

Financial Aid

To date, a total 30 297 students have been approved for NSFAS funding and given statuses. Of those, 13 309 are FTENs, inclusive of those who are South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grant beneficiaries, and 16 988 are returning students.


A total of 7 039 applications for concessions were received, with 3 296 of those approved so far. Appeals totalled 528 and of those, 295 were approved.  From the applications received, 986 could not be processed due to outstanding documentation. Concession applications that were converted to National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding equalled 50, as those applicants met the criteria for the scheme funding.

The University, through its finance department, is committed to accelerating the processing of all applications.


The payment of learning material allowances to student recently cleared for funding resumed on Thursday, 09 March 2023, while the balance of this allowance will be paid to those first-time entering students who opted into the laptop initiative will be paid out once the opt-in window period closes on 17 March 2023.

The payment of the living allowance will resume on Friday, 10 March 2023.

Accommodation for unfunded postgraduate diploma students

Concerns related to the accommodation of unfunded postgraduate diploma students are being resolved through the commitment by University Management to subsidise the accommodation of this cohort of qualifying students to the tune of R2.5-million. The remit of this committee will also be extended to the R800 000 pledged by the SRC from the R1. 3-million donation from the Motsepe Foundation.

What remains a challenge is the funding of students in those programmes with less than 60 credits. These issues are being dealt with through the joint committee between the SRC and Management to co-create criteria for the allocation of these funds to qualifying students.

NSFAS funding of students studying courses that have less than 60 credits.

As part of newly introduced NSFAS changes, courses that have less than 60 credits are not considered for funding. Given the implications of this, the University appealed this decision with the financial aid scheme, which acknowledged receipt of the appeal on Wednesday, 01 March 2023.

Admission of qualifying Higher Certificate students to programmes they have applied for.

The list of the affected and qualifying students from the Gqeberha and George campuses was received and responded to accordingly.

Shuttle services

 In an effort to address the challenge of the provision of student shuttles, Manco approved the addition of a further 25 vehicles (the equivalent of six buses), with effect from Monday, 13 March 2023. This reinforcement follows a recent addition of 35 vehicles, from the initial 94. This brings the total number of vehicles to 154.

The approval for the 25 vehicles is based on current demand, and the University will continue to monitor demand as the enrolment numbers are finalised.  


The University remains committed to ensuring access to qualifying students and will continue working with all relevant stakeholders, including student leadership, to address all issues impacting the holistic success of its students.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777