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Top Options to Find Funding

by Staff Reporter

Looking to find funding for your studies? Let us help you out!  

Find Funding: It’s Time!

Young South Africans like to dream big.

Often these dreams and aspirations involve tertiary education, and we all know how expensive that can be. We want to help South African youth to find funding and to learn more about all of their options. 

This guide includes all of our most useful information on the world of funding. It will cover everything you need to know and consider when searching for or applying for funding opportunities. There are a few key things you need to be aware of if you are stepping into the world of funding for the first time.


Find Funding for Specific Institutions

If you know where you want to study, the first thing you should do is find out if your institution of choice offers internal funding or fee reductions. This funding if often based on merit or need. If you achieve certain marks in matric, for example, some institutions will offer you a fee reduction.

The specific criteria is different for all institutions. Click on the institutions below to learn more about the specific requirements.

Find more information about funding for specific institutions here


The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) offers funding to students at public institutions. This includes public universities, universities of technology and TVET colleges. This is based solely on financial neediness and aimed as previously disadvantaged groups.

NSFAS funds approximately 205 000 students each year.  

In order to apply for NSFAS funding, you need to meet the following criteria:

    • South African citizen.
    • Have a combined household income less than R350 000 per annum.
    • SASSA grant recipient.
    • Studying for the first time at a public university of TVET college. 
    • Applying to study at a public university or TVET college for a qualification OR already be a registered university student with an annual household income of less than R122 000 per year.
    • Have passed Grade 9 and 10 (to receive NSFAS funding to study at a TVET college).
    • Have passed Grade 12 (to receive NSFAS funding at a university).

Find more information about NSFAS and how it works here.

Scholarships & Bursaries

Besides NSFAS, there are many other funding opportunities to consider. This is usually in the form of a bursary or a scholarship. It is important to understand the difference between these two funding options. 

Scholarship: These are usually based on merit (how well you do/ the marks you get at school). Scholarships are generally quite competitive and harder to come by. Find more information on scholarships here.

Bursary: Bursaries all have different conditions. Often they are based on financial neediness or are reserved for previously disadvantaged groups. In general, bursaries are more common than scholarships. There are often strict service contracts involved. Read more about bursaries here

When it comes to bursaries and scholarships, it is important to understand the details of the contract that you are entering into. It is important to ask questions such as:

  • What happens if you fail a course or module?
  • Do you get paid monthly stipends or one lump sum? 
  • Will you, the individual, be paid directly or will the money go straight to your institution?
  • Do you have control over what the money is used for?

Find Funding: Student Loans

If you are unable to fund funding in the form of a bursary or scholarship, student loans are an option to consider. That said, taking out a student loan is a big decision and should not be taken lightly. Almost all major banks in South Africa offer student loans, or personal loans that can be used for education. 

Different banks or loan providers will have different criteria. It is important to do you research when applying for a student loan and to make sure you are getting the best deal possible. If you are not earning an income, you will also likely be required to find a parent or guardian to stand surety for you in order for the loan to be approved.

As mentioned above, most banks offer student loans. There are also other accredited financial institutions that offer loans.

While it is important to fund your studies in some way, you must always think about what it will take to pay back your student loans.

Read more about applying for a student loan here. 

Top Tips

At the end of the day, it is important to find the funding option that works best for you and your specific situation. Here are some top tips when it comes to finding funding, and applying for funding.

  1.  Do your research. 
  2. Apply for as many funding options as possible. 
  3. Ask questions. 

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