Find Funding: Which Funding Option is right for me?

by Staff Reporter

The idea of studying further and building towards the dream career is an exciting prospect for many, but the same thing that creates excitement for one, may stir dread in another… How will you pay for it? Here are some ways to find funding. 

Do I need funding?

The cost of education in South Africa varies according to the type of institution as well as the qualification. It’s important to research how much fees, materials and accommodation will cost before committing to studying. You may not need funding if your parents are willing to and can afford to pay for your tertiary education, or if you are working and earning enough to pay for your own studies, you would not need financial aid. Some institutions are affordable enough for you to put yourself through your studies using savings.  However, there are many institutions which require a heavy cost.

For those wishing to find funding of some sort, there are a few options to choose from.🏆

Find Funding: what are my options?

  • Bursaries: Bursaries cover the full cost of studies including textbooks, tuition, accommodation and sometimes even pocket money for living expenses. Bursaries do not need to be paid back.
  • Scholarship: Scholarships cover a portion of study expenses and are awarded to students who show academic promise. Scholarships also do not need to be paid back.
  • Government funding: The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) offers financial aid to students with academic potential but that lack financial means. It started out as student loans but the president announced in 2017 that going forward, funding would not need to be paid back for those studying at public universities and TVET colleges. It covers registration fees, accommodation, transport, learning materials and food
  • Student loan: A study loan is money borrowed to pay for academic tuition that has to be paid back with interest. A loan should only be given out by a registered financial institution.
  • Company training: If you’re lucky enough to find funding from a company willing to pay for your studies while you work for them, this may be a great option, depending on your field of choice. Most firms believe in up-skilling their employees and invest in their education.
  • Partial financial aid: Some institutions offer their students partial financial aid to cover tuition fees. This does not need to be paid back, but the amount will vary depending on how many students apply.

How do I decide on one?

There are many pros and cons that come with each funding option that you should be aware of before making a funding decision:

Pros and cons of each funding option: 



  •   You don’t have to take out a loan and won’t need to pay interest.
  •   You have financial support for the entirety of your studies, given that you consistently meet the requirements of the bursary.
  •   You don’t have to pay them back


  •  Many scholarship and bursary programmes have a series of interviews and tests which need to be completed before the start of the term. Scholarship and bursary interviews can be a daunting task.
  •   You might be required to work for the institution that is granting the bursary for a certain period after completing your studies.
  •   You could lose the bursary if you do not pass the course that you are studying.



  • Covers the majority of your fees.
  • Does not need to be paid back.


  • Only covers a portion of your fees – albeit the larger part. You need to make up the rest.
  • There’s pressure to maintain a good academic average or the scholarship will be revoked.

Government funding:


  • Covers the full cost of your expenses.
  • Does not need to be paid back. 


  • Available for those studying at public universities or TVET colleges only.
  • Available only for those whose household income is less than R350 000 per year or those receiving any type of social grant.

Student loans:


  • No pressure to get good grades.
  • You aren’t reliant on anyone to provide for you.


  • Loans have to be paid back with interest.
  • If you can’t pay the loan back, you will be blacklisted – late or missed payments are red-flagged and will inhibit you when wanting to apply for other loans, due to bad credit history.

Company training:


  • You’re earning money while you study.
  • You are guaranteed a job when your studies are complete.


  • You have to be disciplined enough to pay proper attention to your studies while working full-time/part-time.
  • You can’t fail your course.
  • You will have to work the time back that you studied at the company paying for your studies before you can seek other employment.

Partial financial aid: 


  •     Does not need to be paid back.


  •     It won’t cover all your study costs.
  •     The amount depends on how many students apply and you may end up having to cover a substantial portion of your fees.
  •     You have to make other arrangements to fund the balance of your fees.

The idea to study further and build towards the dream career is an exciting prospect for many, but how will you pay for it? Click here to find out more about funding opportunities!

EduConnect 2Cents

Now that you’re equipped with the tools to make your best decision, make your move towards one of the options at any or all of them. If you have a dream, don’t let anything stand in your way. With some planning and hard work, nothing is out of your reach.

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