Unlocking Opportunities: Where to Find Bursaries and Funds to Further Your Studies in South Africa

Unlocking Opportunities: Where to Find Bursaries and Funds to Further Your Studies in South Africa

Introduction: In South Africa, access to higher education is often hindered by financial constraints, leaving many aspiring students unable to pursue their academic dreams. However, there are numerous avenues available for individuals seeking bursaries and funds to further their studies. From government initiatives to corporate sponsorships and philanthropic organizations, various sources offer financial assistance to support students in their educational endeavors. In this article, we explore where individuals can find bursaries and funds to further their studies in South Africa, providing guidance on eligibility criteria, application processes, and tips for securing financial support.

  1. Government Bursaries and Scholarships: The South African government, through the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and other agencies, administers several bursary and scholarship programs to support students from low-income households. These programs aim to promote access to education, address skills shortages, and foster socio-economic development. Key government bursaries and scholarships include:
  • National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS): NSFAS provides financial assistance to South African citizens studying at public universities and TVET colleges. Eligible students can receive funding for tuition fees, accommodation, meals, and study materials. Applications are submitted online through the NSFAS portal, with eligibility criteria based on financial need and academic performance.
  • Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme: The Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme supports students pursuing teaching qualifications in priority subject areas such as mathematics, science, and technology. Bursaries cover tuition fees, accommodation, and a stipend for living expenses. Applicants must be South African citizens, committed to teaching as a career, and meet academic criteria specified by the Department of Basic Education.
  1. Corporate Bursary Programmes: Many companies in South Africa offer bursary programmes to support students in fields relevant to their industry or corporate interests. These corporate bursaries often come with the expectation of future employment with the sponsoring company. Some notable corporate bursary programmes include:
  • Sasol Bursary Programme: Sasol, a leading energy and chemical company, offers bursaries to students pursuing degrees in engineering, science, commerce, and technology-related fields. Bursaries cover tuition fees, accommodation, meals, and other study-related expenses. Applicants must be South African citizens and meet academic performance criteria.
  • Investec Bursary Programme: Investec, a financial services provider, offers bursaries to South African students studying commerce, engineering, science, or technology-related disciplines. Bursaries cover tuition fees, accommodation, textbooks, and a living allowance. Applicants must demonstrate academic excellence, leadership potential, and financial need.
  1. University and College Bursaries: Many universities and colleges in South Africa offer bursaries and financial aid to support students with tuition fees, accommodation, and living expenses. These bursaries may be merit-based, need-based, or awarded to students from specific demographic groups or academic disciplines. Prospective students should inquire about bursary opportunities directly with their institution’s financial aid office or student support services.
  2. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Foundations: Several NGOs and philanthropic foundations in South Africa provide bursaries and scholarships to support education and skills development initiatives. These organizations often target underprivileged students, individuals from marginalized communities, or those facing socio-economic challenges. Examples of NGOs and foundations offering bursaries include:
  • The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls: Founded by Oprah Winfrey, this academy provides scholarships to academically talented girls from disadvantaged backgrounds in South Africa. The scholarships cover tuition, accommodation, meals, and other expenses for the duration of their secondary education.
  • Allan Gray Orbis Foundation: The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation offers comprehensive fellowships to high-impact, entrepreneurial-minded students from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, and Lesotho. The fellowship supports undergraduate studies at select South African universities and includes financial assistance, mentorship, and leadership development activities.
  1. Online Scholarship Databases and Search Engines: Numerous online scholarship databases and search engines aggregate information about bursaries, scholarships, and financial aid opportunities available to students in South Africa. These platforms allow students to search for scholarships based on criteria such as field of study, level of education, and eligibility requirements. Some popular online scholarship databases include:
  • EduFunding: EduFunding is a South African platform that connects students with bursaries, scholarships, and funding opportunities from various sources, including government agencies, corporate sponsors, and NGOs. Students can create profiles, search for relevant opportunities, and apply directly through the platform.
  • Bursaries South Africa: Bursaries South Africa provides a comprehensive database of bursaries and scholarships available to South African students across different fields of study and academic levels. The platform allows users to filter scholarships by category, province, and closing date, making it easier to find relevant opportunities.


In conclusion, South Africa offers a diverse array of bursaries and funds to support students in furthering their studies and achieving their academic aspirations. Whether through government bursaries, corporate sponsorship programmes, university initiatives, or philanthropic foundations, financial assistance is available to individuals from various backgrounds and fields of study. By exploring these opportunities, understanding eligibility criteria, and submitting compelling applications, students can access the resources they need to pursue higher education and unlock their full potential. Aspiring scholars are encouraged to research available bursaries, plan ahead, and take proactive steps towards securing financial support for their educational journey in South Africa.

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