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Educational Funding Opportunities in South Africa

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There are many people who would like to further their studies but due to their financial circumstances, cannot afford to do so. However, the government is making strides in providing greater access to funding for deserving learners who would like to continue learning.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)

NSFAS is the South African government student loan and bursaries scheme. It was set up to help South African students to further their education at public TVET colleges and universities. It provides a sustainable financial aid system for loans and bursaries, allowing deserving learners to realise their potential and hopes for the future

NSFAS Bursary

Bursaries are available for specific fields of study, such as accounting, actuarial science and various scarce skills study fields. Since there are not enough bursaries available for all learners in South Africa, you may receive a loan that is repayable when you start working.


NSFAS loans are given to learners to cover the costs associated with their tertiary studies. The learner starts paying back the loan when they start earning a salary.

The advantages of the NSFAS loan are:

  • It attracts a very low interest rate;
  • It is granted without the need for guarantees or sureties;
  • Depending on the learner’s academic results, portions of the loan can be converted into a bursary; and will be discovered later on as all financial statements have to be submitted
  • Be realistic when asked for a yearly spending budget, do not try to get more resources than actually required as you may not end up qualifying for the funding.
  • There is nothing to lose, so be open, honest and transparent about the available resources you do have as it will improve your chances of gaining an opportunity you really need to secure your future.

Public Service Training Opportunities

Some government departments offer post-school education and training opportunities, through colleges and centres for capacity development. Graduates from these colleges are often specifically recruited to work for these government departments.

Although some of these opportunities may require a Grade 12 pass, they may at times have other additional requirements. You will need to find out more about these opportunities at the respective government departments listed below. Also be on the lookout for intake opportunities, which are usually advertised in newspapers.

Please make early enquiries with the different government departments below about the opportunities they offer.

Department of Health

There are several qualifications offered by nursing colleges. These include:

  1. Diploma in Nursing;
  2. Bachelor of Nursing; and
  3. Advanced Diploma: Community Nursing Science.

For a list of registered nursing colleges, visit http://www.sanc.co.za or call
012 420 1035/1045

South African Police Services (SAPS)

If you wish to train to be a police officer visit your nearest police station for more information or call the national office on 012 393 1000 or visit the website at: http://www.saps.gov.za/careers

Department of Correctional Services.

This department occasionally advertises training opportunities for correctional officers. If you are interested in a career of this nature, you can also keep an eye out for advertisements in the newspapers.

Other funding sources

Many government departments, such as Basic Education (Funza Lushaka), Social Development, Labour, and Science and Technology, to mention a few, offer bursaries to learners who meet certain requirements.

Find out more

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