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.
These are bursaries that usually have a work-back condition – in other words, you will be required to work for the number of years for which you received the bursary (or longer).
There are also a number of organisations and companies, such as the Rural Education Access Programme (REAP), mining companies, law firms, accounting firms, and entities such as Telkom, ESKOM and CSIR, to mention a few, that also offer bursaries to high achieving and deserving learners.
They may require that you “pay back” the bursary by working at their organisation once you have completed your studies, but this is a plus as you gain work experience and have a guaranteed job after you have completed your studies.
Ask the university’s FAO or SSC at the TVET College about these and other available scholarships, bursaries and loans.
Sometimes when you apply for a bursary, you may be asked to write a HWSETA Career Guidance Brochure 17 letter of motivation. A great introduction in your letter gives a good first impression. The letter must be well written and to the point, highlighting your strengths and detailing your long-term goals.
Ensure that the letter is respectful and mature in tone, grabs the potential funder’s attention and compels them into action, i.e. awarding you with a bursary. Most major commercial banks also provide services for student loans and parents can also approach the company at which they are employed for a bursary or student loan on behalf of their child.
To secure financial assistance you should consistently conduct internet searches and look through print media to discover currently available opportunities and the relevant criteria for student loans, bursaries and scholarships for the next academic year.
You should talk to mentors to gain advice about financial assistance to study in a particular career field you would like to follow. Identify the professional body for that specific career field and engage them on financial assistance avenues that you can pursue.
Remember each student loan, bursary or scholarship has different terms and conditions and you must carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages before deciding whether to apply or accept one of these opportunities.
It is recommended that you do thorough research to compare different opportunities and what they offer to ensure that you meet all of the required criteria and most importantly to match your career aspirations to these opportunities.
When applying for a student loan, bursary or scholarship make sure you also do the following:
- Complete the application in full thus ensuring you provide sufficient information about yourself, your future plans, and career aspirations.
- Never submit a late application as this will automatically disqualify you from the opportunity.
- Be truthful about your financial situation. If you are not in financial distress it 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.