ISASA Bursary
Everything You Need to Know About the ISASA Bursary 2024

The ISASA bursary program provides an invaluable opportunity for academically talented youth to access quality private education in South Africa. As the costs of top independent schools continue to rise, these means-tested bursaries allow deserving students to fulfill their potential.

This comprehensive guide provides insights into all aspects of the ISASA bursary, enabling you to make an informed application.

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What is ISASA?

ISASA stands for Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa. It is a voluntary membership organization representing more than 170 leading private schools across South Africa.

The association was formed in 1996 to support member schools in promoting quality and affordable education. ISASA creates networking and collaboration opportunities between schools to continuously improve teaching standards and governance.

ISASA member schools typically offer smaller class sizes, excellent infrastructure, innovative teaching methods, and holistic extracurricular activities compared to public schools. However, the fees at private schools limit access only to affluent families.

This is where the ISASA bursary program comes in—to make such independent schools more inclusive and diverse.

Overview of the ISASA Bursary

The ISASA bursary program provides financial assistance to high-potential students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This enables them to complete their high school education at one of ISASA’s member schools.

Bursary Details:

  • Covers a percentage of tuition fees at the chosen ISASA member school
  • The percentage awarded depends on financial need
  • Tenure is for Grade 8 through Matric (final 2-3 years of school)
  • Must apply separately for each year

By subsidizing the cost of attending a member independent school, the bursary makes quality private education accessible to students who would normally not be able to afford it.

Benefits of ISASA Member Schools

What makes ISASA schools so desirable? Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Smaller classes and individualized attention
  • State-of-the-art educational facilities
  • Innovative teaching methods and technology
  • Exceptional academic results and university placement
  • Extensive sports, arts and cultural activities
  • Focus on discipline, values and leadership
  • Diversity and inclusion as an educational priority
  • International exchange programs
  • Powerful alumni networks

Attending an ISASA school can give you the foundation and connections to achieve future career success. The bursary enables this opportunity.

Eligibility Criteria for ISASA Bursary 2024

The ISASA bursary has clear eligibility requirements that applicants must meet:

Academic Achievement

  • Currently in Grades 6 to 11 at any registered South African school
  • Consistent track record of excellence (minimum 70%+ average)

Financial Need

  • Household income less than R200,000 per annum
  • Inability to self-fund private school fees


  • South African citizenship

Co-curricular Performance

  • Participation and achievement in sports, culture, societies, etc.

Leadership & Social Impact

  • Initiative, communication skills and community-mindedness

The bursary aims to support deserving, underprivileged students who will thrive at ISASA schools.

How Much Funding is Provided?

The ISASA bursary covers a percentage of tuition fees at your chosen member school. The percentage awarded depends on:

  • Total fees at the selected school
  • Your financial needs and circumstances
  • Number of applicants receiving bursaries from the school

On average, bursaries cover 50%–100% of tuition fees.

Partial bursaries are often topped up by additional financial aid from the school itself.

So in total, your out-of-pocket contribution to fees may be very little, making the education affordable.

How to Apply for ISASA Bursary 2024

Applications for the 2024 ISASA bursaries are open early. Here is the process:

Opening Date

Applications are likely open in April – May 2023

Application Method

  • Submit an online application via the ISASA website
  • Hard-copy application are also accepted

Supporting Documents

  • Proof of household income
  • Academic transcripts
  • Awards certificates
  • Motivation letter
  • Reference letters

Selection Process

  • Initial screening of applications
  • Shortlisted candidates invited for school interviews
  • Final decisions made by July 2023

Start preparing your application as early as possible. Follow up with your chosen schools to confirm the selection outcomes.

How are bursary recipients selected?

The selection process is highly competitive.

  • ISASA screens all applications centrally
  • Eligible candidates are ranked and allocated to member schools
  • Schools review assigned candidates and select the best fits
  • Top academic, extracurricular, and leadership credentials are essential
  • Interviews assess student motivation and communication

Each ISASA school has a limited bursary quota. Out of many applicants, only the cream of the crop gets selected.

ISASA Bursary Contract

Successful applicants must sign a contract with ISASA and the member school:

  • Commit to the ISASA school code of conduct
  • Maintain high academic performance
  • Participate meaningfully in school activities
  • Bring honour to your family and school
  • Act as an ambassador for the bursary program

Non-compliance can lead to the bursary being revoked.

How are Bursaries Renewed?

  • Bursary recipients need to re-apply annually
  • Continued financial need must be demonstrated
  • Academic and extracurricular performance reviewed
  • Only top performers have bursaries renewed

The application process restarts afresh each year. Competition is intense for renewal as quotas remain limited.

Life as an ISASA Bursary Recipient

Here are some insights into life as an ISASA bursary recipient:

  • Feel proud to be handpicked to attend a top school
  • Adhere to strict codes of discipline and conduct
  • Work hard to achieve consistently excellent grades
  • Make the most of world-class facilities and activities
  • Forge bonds with students from different backgrounds
  • Participate in community outreach initiatives
  • Build skills and mindsets to succeed at university and in your career
  • Become a role model for other disadvantaged students
  • Be an ambassador for your family and your school
  • Grasp this life-changing opportunity with both hands!


The ISASA bursary program transforms futures by empowering high-potential students to access prestigious ISASA member schools. For historically disadvantaged youth, it is a golden chance to benefit from world-class private education.

The application process is rigorous, but rewarding. With a strong all-round application illustrating your excellence and grit, you have an excellent chance of being awarded this coveted bursary.

Seize the ISASA bursary opportunity to gain the skills, credentials and connections that will open doors to your future success.


How many ISASA bursaries are available?

The total number available varies annually based on funding. On average, 150+ bursaries are awarded to students across ISASA member schools. Each school receives a limited bursary allocation.

Which ISASA schools offer bursaries?

Almost all ISASA member schools offer bursaries to eligible applicants. You can check on the ISASA website or contact your shortlisted schools directly.

Can the bursary be used for boarding fees?

Yes, if you are from outside the city where your ISASA school is located, the bursary can cover a portion of your boarding fees as well.

Are there any obligations after completing school?

No, there are no obligations once you complete your schooling. However, you are expected to be an ambassador for the program and share your experiences.

Can I apply with an existing partial scholarship?

Yes, you can apply for an ISASA bursary even if you have another small scholarship. The bursary can top up your funding.


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