Bursaries for Education 2024/2025

A Guide to Securing Bursaries for Education Studies in South Africa

Embarking on a journey to become a teacher and make a difference in young lives is a noble pursuit. However, the costs associated with quality education studies can seem prohibitive without access to financial assistance. This is where education bursaries become invaluable – by providing you with the funding you need to achieve your dreams of molding future generations.

In this comprehensive guide, we explore the wealth of public and private bursary opportunities available for aspiring teachers and education leaders in South Africa. Whether you are pursuing a teaching diploma, BEd, MED, PhD or another education-focused qualification, read on to uncover where to find bursaries, how to apply successfully, and set yourself up for a rewarding career in education.

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Introduction to Education Bursaries

A bursary is a monetary award provided to students to help cover educational expenses, without requiring repayment. Bursaries are granted based on criteria like financial need, academic performance, field of study, or other eligibility requirements set by the provider.

For students passionate about education in South Africa, bursaries can make the difference in being able to access quality studies in this field. The key is finding aligned bursaries and crafting compelling applications.

This guide will explore:

  • Main sources of education bursaries in South Africa
  • Crafting outstanding bursary applications
  • Key eligibility criteria and requirements
  • Insider application tips from experts
  • Answers to common bursary questions

Let’s delve into how to secure funding to invest in your education and teaching career.

Main Sources of Education Bursaries

Many excellent education bursary opportunities exist through government, universities, charities and more.

Government Bursaries

The South African government offers several programs, including:

  • NSFAS – Financial aid for disadvantaged students pursuing higher education, including teaching qualifications.
  • Funza Lushaka Bursary – Bursaries from the Department of Basic Education targeting teaching in areas of national priority and need.

University Bursaries

Most major universities offer bursaries for students pursuing education degrees and diplomas, often based on financial need or academic achievement.

Charities and Foundations

Many charitable organizations provide bursaries for aspiring teachers, like the Breadline Africa Foundation, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and the KW Johnstone Education Trust.

Corporate Bursaries

Certain companies offer bursaries for teaching studies, particularly in scarce skills subjects like math, science and technology.

Targeting these sources strategically can uncover funding tailored for you.

Crafting Your Bursary Application

Your written bursary application provides the opportunity to showcase your worthiness for funding. Here are some tips:

Highlight Academic Achievements

Provide details of your stellar academic performance, awards and any evidence demonstrating your excellence as a student.

Articulate Your Teaching Passion

Explain what draws you to the field of education, your vision for impact, and your future goals within the profession.

Address Area of Specialization

For subject-specific teaching bursaries, discuss your interests, achievements and ambitions within that subject.

Demonstrate Leadership

Share examples of leadership roles and community impact that provide insights into your character and abilities.

Proofread Extensively

Refine your application until it is flawless. Any errors may jeopardize your success.

With diligent preparation and compelling content, you can craft an outstanding bursary application.

Key Eligibility Criteria

Understanding typical requirements will help you determine which bursaries to pursue.

Academic Achievement

Meeting high academic standards is usually required based on matric or ongoing university grades.

Financial Need

Most bursaries aim to assist economically disadvantaged students, so financial means testing is common.

Field of Study

Some bursaries are for studies in specific teaching subjects like math, sciences, languages or technology.


Many bursaries require South African citizenship or permanent residence. Some are open globally.

While each bursary sets specific criteria, excellence and dedication are vital prerequisites.

Insider Tips from Experts

Apply these bursary application tips from the experts:

  • For government teaching bursaries, research national education priorities and tailor your application accordingly.
  • Demonstrate hands-on experience working with learners through volunteering, tutoring, camps etc.
  • Secure recommendation letters from current or former teachers familiar with your aptitude.
  • For corporate bursaries, understand their focus areas and pipeline programs to showcase alignment.
  • If invited for a face-to-face interview, prepare thoroughly and demonstrate your teaching passion.

With diligence and persistence, you can optimize your chances of winning key funding.

Answers to Common Bursary Questions

Let’s explore some frequent questions teaching bursary applicants have:

How competitive are education bursaries?

Competition varies but can be high for bursaries in national priority subjects like math and science. Apply broadly to maximize your chances.

When should I apply for teaching bursaries?

Begin researching 12-18 months before studies commence. Many teaching bursaries have early deadline cycles.

Can I still get a student loan if I secure an education bursary?

Yes, combining funding sources is common. Maximize free aid first through bursaries, then supplement unmet costs with loans.

Does a teaching bursary mean I must teach for a certain period?

Often yes, you will be required to teach at a public school for a set number of years. Be sure to understand any obligations.

The more you understand the landscape, the better prepared you will be to secure valuable funding.


The costs of quality teaching qualifications and education leadership programs can deter many passionate aspirant teachers without financial assistance. But by leveraging South Africa’s range of public and private bursary opportunities, those called to the field of education can access the training needed to mold future generations.

Remember to begin your bursary search early, assess eligibility carefully, craft excellent applications, and follow expert tips. With focus and perseverance, teaching bursaries can enable you to positively shape young minds and bring meaningful change to education in South Africa.


Where can I find bursaries for postgraduate studies like an MED or PhD in education?

Great sources are university education departments, the NRF, charities like the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and aggregator platforms like Bursaries24.

What are the most prestigious teaching bursaries in South Africa?

Some highly-regarded programs are the Funza Lushaka Bursary, the Allan Gray Orbis Fellowship, the KW Johnstone Education Trust Bursary, and corporate bursaries from leaders in education.

If my grades slipped one semester due to personal issues, does that disqualify me?

Not necessarily, though it may be tougher. Explain the situation in your application and emphasize the positive trajectory of your overall academic record.

Should I rely only on bursaries or also apply for student loans?

Pursuing both bursaries and loans can provide your full funding needs. Bursaries help minimize debt, but loans can supplement unmet costs.

Can part-time education students qualify for teaching bursaries?

Unfortunately most bursaries require full-time enrollment. But some providers may offer support for part-time students, so verify each bursary’s criteria.


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