The first step in planning your study funding is to determine whether or not you qualify for any available bursaries from private companies or government departments. Some businesses provide corporate bursaries with the main goal of attracting talent to their organisation, upskilling their current employees, and investing in youth development. All of these can help to increase their total B-BBEE score and help to relieve South Africa’s high unemployment rate. Bursaries are typically awarded on the basis of academic achievement or households with a low-income status.
Evidence of these qualifying factors will need to be submitted along with your application to the bursary funder. If you do qualify for a suitable bursary, you may be required to honour a 'work back' agreement by taking up employment at the funding company or government department once you have completed your studies. These are typical entry-level posts with primary-level salaries, however, they do provide you with the opportunity to gain the necessary work experience and skills you need to build your career. It is important to note that NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) and Funza are only applicable to students who wish to study at public universities, TVET colleges or other related state institutions. Funding from NSFAS and Funza is not provided to private institutions.
A second option to consider, should you not qualify for a bursary, is a student or study loan from one of the six major banks in South Africa. These include: FNB, ABSA, Standard Bank, Nedbank, Capitec, and Investec. A study loan requires that the applicant is a South African citizen over the age of 18, is registered with a tertiary institution, and has someone to stand surety for the loan (usually a parent or guardian or sibling who is currently earning an income). These types of loans are structured in such a way that they are paid back during your studies or once you have completed your qualification. Student loan interest rates are usually more reasonable in comparison to other types of loans. Determine whether you qualify for a student loan (and work out total monthly installments) by visiting Standard Bank’s website.
A third option, should you not qualify for a bursary or student loan, is to consider an alternate student funding organisation, such as Manati. Manati creates partnerships with universities, colleges, corporate institutions, and government where they are able to offer low-interest study loans that make tertiary education possible for the vast majority of students who would otherwise be unable to afford or source the required funding. For instance, a minimum household income of R5,260 is required for a student loan of up to R30,000. Manati’s entire application process is online, and each student loan is calculated according to the unique needs and capacity of each individual student. Visit www.manati.co.za to see if this is a viable option for you.
One final resort is to explore how your selected institution may be able to assist you with a possible payment arrangement to accommodate your study fees. In some cases, the institution may be able to calculate a special payment plan based on your ability to afford a deposit amount vs the monthly instalments you would need to pay for the qualification. This is, however, not a regular practice but may be something that your institution would be willing to accommodate in order to close the deal.