Universities South Africa

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What can students needing financial aid do to seek help if they do not qualify for NSFAS funding?2023-11-10T09:11:31+02:00

We advise students to approach their institutions’ Financial Aid Offices to state their need, and to inquire about existing bursary opportunities.  This is the best approach because Financial Aid Officers are likely to know about other bursaries offered by organisations outside the basket of donors that USAf has formed relationships with.  The Financial Aid Officers are also best placed to advise the students on ways to access all the available bursaries.

May needy students apply to Universities South Africa for bursaries?2023-11-08T13:06:56+02:00

No, students may NOT apply to USAf for bursaries.  USAf does raise funds with private sector and other organisations with the aim is to assist needy and academically deserving students who do not qualify for the bursaries offered by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), but whose households can hardly afford university tuition fees for various reasons.  USAf also fundraises to contain student debt from spiraling out of control for the long-term sustainability of our member institutions.

However, when we have secured funding, we inform our member institutions about it and leave it to them to use their preferred means to identify the students eligible for assistance. Once the institutions have identified the qualifying students, USAf works with them through all the necessary administrative processes which include signing memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with the concerned donors.  Once the MoUs are in place, the universities inform the identified students of the impending funding. 

Because most donor organisations pay out the grants to USAf, USAf then disburses these funds to the various institutions in accordance with the number of students identified and agreed upon. The universities then allocate the funds to the students’ accounts, accordingly.  

We have offered the explanation above to demonstrate why students may not apply to USAf for funding, and why USAf does not entertain correspondence with individual students on bursaries.

Matriculation Board

What is a matriculation exemption?2023-11-08T13:09:08+02:00

A matriculation exemption is a legal requirement for first-degree study at a South African university. By law, students who did not pass their pre-2008 Senior Certificate with exemption, need to apply for one through the Matriculation Board.

Students holding international qualifications and wishing to register for first-degree studies in South Africa must have their school qualifications evaluated by the Matriculation Board. The board will then issue a certificate of exemption to those who qualify. Please note that students must also comply with the faculty requirements to ensure admission.  An exemption certificate does not guarantee admission.

What documents are required for an exemption application?2023-11-08T13:06:50+02:00
  • ID/ Passport/ Birth Certificate/ Refugee status/ Marriage Certificate (if applicable) / Divorce decree (if applicable)
  • School qualification (School leaving Certificates,)
  • Any post-school qualifications
  • M30 Application form (does not have to be certified)
  • Proof of payment (does not have to be certified)
Where can I have my documents certified?2023-11-08T13:06:44+02:00

The Proof of Payment and M30 application form does not have to be certified.  All other supporting documentation need to be certified as follows:

  • The Admissions Office of the University where you plan to register
  • A Notary Public
  • The SA Embassy or High Commission in a foreign country
  • An Admitted Advocate or Attorney.

Certification by a commissioner of oaths e.g the Police, Post Office, Bank Manager etc.  is not acceptable.

How do I apply for an exemption certificate?2023-10-31T09:38:22+02:00

There are alternative ways in which you can apply for an exemption certificate. The first option is online via this link: https://mb.usaf.ac.za/online-assessment-and-applicati.on/

Fill out the M30 application form that you may download here. 

For your application to be fully processed, submit proof of payment, ID, passport or birth certificate, marriage certificate or divorce decree (if applicable), and school leaving certificates and any post-school qualifications (if applicable). These must be correctly certified. 

The second option is to visit the Matriculation Board premises, located at Universities South Africa, Hadefields Office Park, 1267 Pretorius Street, Hatfield, Pretoria. 

As a third option, you may courier correctly certified documents to the Matriculation Board Office at the following address:
Block E
Hadefields Office Park
1267 Pretorius Street,

What types of exemption certificates can I obtain?2023-10-31T09:39:50+02:00

There are several types of exemption certificates issued depending on the qualifications of the applicant. Examples are complete exemption certificates and conditional exemption certificates.

a) Complete exemption certificates are:

  • Certificates that do not have expiry dates but take effect on a date that is dependent on the qualification based on which it is awarded.  A detailed explanation of the distinct types of exemption certificates can be found on here.

b) Conditional exemption certificates are:

  • Mature age entry certificate offered to 23-year-old students. This is valid for five years and can be renewed.
  • Foreign conditional exemption which this is valid for five years and can be renewed.
  • Ordinary conditional exemption, valid for three years and renewable until the student meets the requirements of the exemption.
  • Senate’s discretionary exemption, which is granted once the student, has completed a recognised Access course or a Foundation programme and is valid for 3 years and can be renewed.
Will my exemption certificate remain valid if I change institutions?2023-10-31T09:50:25+02:00

The exemption certificate types vary from one to another and the validation period is shown on the certificate.

If you change institutions, you need to send an application with the required amendment fee to the Board so your exemption certificate can be transferred to the receiving institution. If you qualified for Senate’s Discretionary exemption, you need to find out from the receiving institution whether they are prepared to accept you with based on the previous institution’s decision.

Exemptions are issued to the institution where you have been registered. You can apply to as many institutions as you want to, but you can only register at ONE institution for an academic year.

How long does it take to process an application?2023-10-30T16:43:50+02:00

It takes the Matriculation Board 5-10 working days to process online submitted applications.

If the applicant qualifies for an exemption, a provisional letter is issued which is sufficient to facilitate admission to a South African public or private institution, subject to the applicant meeting the institutional requirements.

The actual exemption certificate is issued six to eight weeks after receipt of all relevant and correctly certified documents and the requisite payment.

What do I do if I am not sure that I will qualify for exemption?2023-10-31T09:49:27+02:00

Submit all your documents for online assessment here: https://mb.usaf.ac.za/online-assessment-and-application/.

How much do I pay for an exemption certificate?2024-02-13T17:24:59+02:00

The standard application fee for 2024 is R750.00 and it is non-refundable.  The amount is adjusted annually, and the applicants are required to pay the fee applicable for the year.

Where do I make payments?2023-10-31T09:51:47+02:00

The money can be deposited into the following bank account:

Bank: ABSA
Account name: Matriculation Board
Account number: 4059036917
Branch: Sunnyside Branch
Code: 630345
Swift code: ABSA ZA JJ

Please Note: When completing the bank deposit slip, make sure that your surname and initials are clearly indicated in the reference column and fax proof of payment to the Matriculation Board at 086 686 1720 or email it to Louise@usaf.ac.za for the attention of Ms Louise Graham.  Proof of payment needs to be included with the application to prevent delays in processing the application.  Please note that we do not accept screenshots of the proof of payment.

I wrote Joint Matriculation Board Examinations before 1992 and my certificate is lost. What can I do to obtain a duplicate?2023-10-30T16:47:29+02:00

You need to send us the following details:

  • Surname and full names that appear on your certificate
  • Name of school where you sat for JMB examinations
  • Year of examinations
  • The area where the school is or was situated
  • Your date of birth
  • Your contact details 
  • Email address

Once the above information has been verified, the Matriculation Board will then issue a duplicate copy of your JMB Certificate. The turnaround time is 3-5 working days

Please Note: The Matriculation Board keeps the records of the then Joint Matriculation Board Examinations up to 1992.

If you wrote any other examination, contact the national Department of Education at one of these numbers: 012 303 3500 or 012 312 5843 or 012 312 5846 or apply online www.eservices.gov.za / www.umalusi.org.za

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