When planning to study further, a very important consideration is how you will fund your studies. When you enrol at an institution of further or higher learning, you are expected to pay for your studies. However, due to their financial circumstances, many learners are unable to do so. Costs associated with post-school education include registration fees, tuition fees, accommodation, textbooks and others.

The South African government provides deserving learners an opportunity to continue with their learning through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), which offers bursaries and loans to qualifying learners. There are also other sources you can investigate when seeking funding for studies.

In this section we will look at the different sources of funding that are available, their requirements and some conditions you need to meet to qualify for a bursary or loan.


Below are some terms used in relation to financial assistance:

  • Bursary: funding awarded to a learner to help him/her finance his/her studies. In some cases a learner is required to work back the bursary for a specific period of time.
  • Loan: money borrowed from a funding or financial institution, like a bank, to cover the costs of your studies. A learner is required to repay the loan amount, as well as the interest charged on the loan, on completion of his/her studies.
  • Interest rate: the amount of money charged by a funding or financial institution to the borrower (the learner) for the service of the loan.
  • Surety: the promise or guarantee by one party to assume responsibility for the debt obligation of another party if the borrower defaults. The person that provides this promise is also known as surety or guarantor.


The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) was set up by government to help academically deserving and financially needy South African learners to further their studies at public Further Education and Training (FET) colleges, universities and universities of technology.

The aim is to provide a sustainable financial aid system for loans and bursaries that allow financially needy learners to achieve their potential.


An alternative way to fund your studies is to work part-time. If you chose this option, you must be aware that studying is time consuming and so is working, so it is important to dedicate the right amount of time to each to ensure that you complete your studies while also fulfilling your work responsibilities.

An added benefit of working while you study is that you gain work experience, which you prove valuable in the future.


No matter what your financial situation, if you would like to complete some form of further education and training, there is a funding option for you.

Visit for more information on the different funding options and how to apply.