A Guide on How to Get a Bursary

If you want to apply for a bursary that will pay your fees at an institution of higher education next year, you need to hurry! This time of year, bursary application deadlines are around the corner. If it’s your first time applying for a bursary or you just don’t know where to start, do not fear! Below is a short guide on how to apply for bursaries.

What is a bursary?

Bursaries cover the costs of your studies at all public universities or colleges in South Africa. There are generally two different types of bursaries, namely, a partial and full-cost bursary. As you might have guessed, partial bursaries cover some of your costs and full bursaries covers all the costs. For example, a full cost bursary might cover tuition fees, traveling costs and even groceries, whereas a partial bursary may only cover the tuition fees.

Where do the bursaries come from?

Bursaries are usually provided by companies or government departments. They can also come from private individuals or organizations that were specifically started for the purpose of providing bursaries. Some bursaries come from overseas donors or international bodies like the United Nations.

When should I apply?

Bursary application deadlines differ between different bursary providers, so it is best to check on the internet for application opening and closing dates. Remember, it is better to apply early and not wait until the last minute. Filling in some documentation takes time and this can sometimes mean missing the deadline. Most bursaries are strict about their deadlines, so your late application will most likely be rejected.

Where do I look for bursaries?

Firstly, Google is your friend. The easiest way to find bursaries is to Google the word, ‘bursary’, go to ‘tools’, then ‘any country’, choose ‘South Africa’ and press ‘Enter’. You will find all the bursaries that you can apply for. Secondly, look at noticeboards at your school and library. Private donors or bursary providers usually put their adverts on these noticeboards for students and parents. Thirdly, don’t hesitate to apply for bursaries that are from overseas, because some foreign bursary providers sponsor international students (you).

What are the criteria for getting a bursary?

The criteria for getting a bursary differs slightly from provider to provider, but the main things providers look at are results and your financial situation. If you do well in school, you will most likely get a bursary because of your excellent academic results. If you come from a low-income home, providers will also most likely sponsor you because you do not have the money to fund your own studies.

In certain fields there are COMPULSORY criteria that must be met. For example, if you want to get a degree in the medical field, a minimum of 70% in Pure Mathematics is needed to qualify for a medical bursary. Teaching bursaries require you to have between 50% and 60% in the subjects you wish to teach. For example, if you want to become an English teacher, but you only had 40% in Matric, you won’t qualify for the bursary.

How many bursaries should I apply for?

When it comes to the number of bursaries you should apply for—the more the merrier! If you qualify for the bursary and meet all the criteria, there is nothing stopping you from applying. Apply to as many bursaries as you can because this increases your chance of getting one.

How do I apply for a bursary?

Most times, instructions are given on bursary applications, but you should always make sure you qualify for the bursary by looking at the qualifying criteria. You should apply within the time frames and make sure all the necessary documentation is included. You need to make sure that you read the instructions carefully, because your application could be rejected if you don’t follow the proper procedure

Most, if not all, bursaries require a certified copy of your I.D (no less than 3 months) and Matric results, so make sure that you have these ready for your applications. Do not lie when applying, because providers do checks and often disqualify you if you have been dishonest in your application. When you fill in your contact details, make sure that it is the most recent email address and cell number that you entered, because this is how the providers will contact you. Remember, if they can’t contact you, they will give the bursary to someone else.

What is a NSFAS Bursary?

Lastly, one of the easiest bursaries to get is a NSFAS bursary. A NSFAS bursary, which aims to secure an education for all who qualifies, is money you receive from South African universities or colleges to cover the costs of your studies. In addition to your fees being paid, you will receive an allowance for: textbooks, groceries and in certain cases, transport. Unlike other full-cost bursaries, a NSFAS bursary works on a loan-based system, where you have to pay them back once you start working. If you fail, you still need to repay NSFAS, so don’t fail. However, if you get very high marks during your studies, you will get rewarded because you won’t have to pay back 40% of the loan .

What if I get rejected?

You might be disappointed if you’re rejected, but just keep on applying. Destiny favours those that do not give up and success might be closer than you think!

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