Back to Africa Check

Yes, South Africa’s student aid scheme waives document certification during Covid-19 crisis

People applying for South Africa’s National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) won’t have to certify the documents they submit during the Covid-19 pandemic, claims a post published on Facebook on 6 August 2020. 

The post shows a screenshot of what appears to be a tweet by NSFAS. 

It reads: “Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, NSFAS has removed the requirement for documents to be certified making it that much easier for you to apply for #NSFAS2021”

The state-owned agency provides funding for economically disadvantaged South African citizens studying at local tertiary institutions. 

The post has been viewed more than 38,400 times so far. It has also been flagged as potentially false by Facebook’s fact-checking system. 

Did NSFAS remove the requirement for applicants to submit certified documents during the Covid-19 crisis? We checked. 

NSFAS tweet genuine, from 7 August

A search on Twitter shows that the original tweet is genuine. It was published on NSFAS’s official twitter account on 7 August. 

NSFAS has since posted more tweets with the same information. On 18 August the agency tweeted: “As we move to #Level2 lockdown, we urge students to not lower their guard against #Covid19. NSFAS has removed the requirement for documents to be certified making it safer for students to apply for #NSFAS2021”.

The same information is shown on their website. 

NSFAS previously required applicants to submit copies of their and their parents’ South African identity documents, copies of a proof of income and a completed consent form which had been officially certified. The document certification was not allowed to be older than three months. 

Applications are now open for the 2021 academic year. Information on how to apply is available on the NSFAS website. – Naledi Mashishi

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.