Bursaries for 2024 Undergraduate South Africa
A Comprehensive Guide to Bursaries for 2024 Undergraduate Students in South Africa

Pursuing higher education is an important investment in your future. However, the costs associated with a university or college can present a significant financial barrier for many prospective students in South Africa.

This is where bursaries can make a huge difference by providing crucial funding and making higher education more accessible.

With thousands of bursaries available across diverse fields of study and eligibility criteria, finding the right ones to apply for takes research and planning.

This guide explores the range of bursary options in South Africa, useful search platforms and resources, application tips, and more to help prospective undergraduate students secure funding for their 2024 academic studies and beyond.

Bursaries for 2024 Undergraduate South Africa

Overview of Available Bursaries in South Africa

In South Africa, bursaries provide full or partial funding for university or college tuition fees, accommodation, books, and other related academic expenses. These are available from government, companies, foundations, trusts, universities, and other private organisations. Bursaries do not need to be paid back unlike student loans.

Here is an overview of some of the main categories of bursaries available:

Government and Public Sector Bursaries

  • The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) provides study funding for financially needy students. Full cost bursaries are available for students from households earning under R350,000 per year. Students from households earning between R350,000 and R600,000 can also receive funding on a sliding scale.
  • Government departments like the Department of Public Service and Administration offer bursaries often linked to working in the public sector for a period after graduating.
  • State-owned enterprises like Eskom, Transnet, SAA, municipalities etc. provide bursaries usually related to their field of operation.

University Bursaries

  • Many universities offer their own bursaries and scholarships for academically deserving students as well as those with financial need. These are offered for specific qualifications or faculties.

Private Company Bursaries

  • Major companies and corporations like SA Breweries, Old Mutual, Investec, IBM, Total, and others offer bursaries in fields like engineering, IT, commerce, science etc. These are often in line with their industry and required skills.

Non-Profit and Foundation Bursaries

  • Various non-profit organisations, foundations, trusts and charities fund bursaries for disadvantaged students. These include the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, FirstRand Foundation, Vodacom Foundation, and others.

Field-Specific Bursaries

  • Professional associations and industry bodies provide bursaries linked to their sector like mining, accounting, teaching, medicine etc.

General Merit & Financial Need Bursaries

  • There are also general bursaries focused on academic excellence, merit and financial need open to students across fields.

As you can see, there is a vast range of funding options from multiple sources associated with different eligibility criteria. This is why doing thorough research is key to finding bursaries tailored for your unique situation.

Bursaries for 2024 Undergraduates in South Africa

Your search for the right bursaries can start on these useful and comprehensive online search portals:

Bursaries South Africa (https://bursaries-southafrica.co.za/)

This extensive database lists hundreds of available bursaries across diverse sectors, study fields, provinces, universities and criteria. You can easily filter your search based on your area of study, institution, field of interest etc. The website provides key details on each bursary like value, application dates, eligibility criteria, contact details and links to the application portal. Creating a user account allows you to save bursaries to apply for and set up alerts.

Fundingportal (https://www.bursariesportal.co.za/)

Similar to Bursaries South Africa, this website lets you search and filter a large selection of bursaries by study field, location etc. You can register on Fundingportal to get alerts on new bursary opportunities as they are posted. The website provides you with a dashboard to help organise and track your various bursary applications.

allBursaries (https://bursaries-southafrica.co.za/)

This free search engine categorises the available bursaries according to fields of study, deadlines, provinces and other filters for easy searching. You can browse bursaries requiring online or manual applications. One useful feature is the ability to select multiple filters for very targeted searching.

zabursaries (https://zabursaries.com/)

In addition to listing various bursary opportunities, this website provides helpful news and updates on funding schemes, scholarship programs and financial tips for students. You can subscribe to receive news and alerts on newly advertised bursaries fitting your areas of interest and study criteria.

Additional Bursary Resources

Aside from the specialized search portals above, here are some other useful resources to tap into during your bursary search:

University Financial Aid Offices

The financial aid, scholarships or student funding offices at universities and colleges are important sources of information on which bursaries are available within each specific institution. They can advise you on eligibility and application procedures for the internal bursaries, scholarships and funding schemes. Reach out to them to understand institution-specific options.

Company Websites

Many companies, government departments, industry organisations and non-profits administer their own bursary schemes independently. It’s useful to visit their individual websites since some bursaries may be exclusively advertised and applied for there. Their websites outline the unique eligibility and application details for their bursaries.

NSFAS Website (https://www.nsfas.org.za/)

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) provides bursaries and loans to eligible students at South African public universities and TVET colleges. To qualify for NSFAS funding, visit their website to check the requirements based on household income, academic performance and other criteria. You can start your application on their online portal.

Bursary Management Organisations

Some bursary providers outsource administration and management of their funding programs to specialist bursary management companies like the Eduloan Bursary Management Service. These organisations can help provide guidance and information on specific bursaries.

Bursary Directories & Listings

Some websites like Bursary.co.za simply provide lists and directories of available bursaries with summaries and links to the external application portals. These can be handy for discovering alternative bursary options.

Key Tips for Finding & Applying for Bursaries

Follow this advice to boost your chances of bursary success:

Start early – Begin searching for bursaries well ahead of time, at least 12 months before you require funding. Many popular bursaries have early application windows that close 6-12 months prior to the academic year.

Understand eligibility – Carefully check that you meet the eligibility criteria for a bursary like academic grades, financial need, field of study etc. Only apply if you are a good fit.

Identify priority bursaries – Research widely then shortlist the most relevant bursaries aligned with your unique situation for priority applications. Create a bursary target list.

Follow instructions – Read the application guide thoroughly and submit all required documents as stipulated. Incomplete or late applications may be disqualified.

Apply broadly – Don’t pin your hopes on a single bursary. Submit multiple applications across different providers to spread your chances of success.

Craft strong applications – Make sure your submissions are well written without errors. Ask someone to proofread your applications before sending them. Provide relevant supporting documents.

Stay organised – Track application due dates, requirements and submissions systematically so you don’t miss anything. Keep copies of your applications.

Follow up – After applying, follow up to confirm your application was received successfully. If you don’t hear back after some time, send polite follow up emails.

Look out for scams – Watch for questionable providers asking for large upfront payments which could be scams. Check their legitimacy before applying or providing any personal details.


The wide range of bursary options in South Africa makes it possible to find funding tailored for your specific field, degree, university, financial means and other unique circumstances as an undergraduate student. While it requires dedication and effort, tapping into the array of resources and platforms highlighted here will empower you to navigate the bursary landscape successfully.

The key is to start your bursary search early, identify opportunities aligned with your situation, follow instructions carefully, apply broadly and stay organised throughout the process. Leverage both the specialized search engines as well as contacting providers directly. With a strategic approach, you can secure the funding you need to access higher education and invest in your future without being constrained by financial difficulties.

Frequently Asked Questions on Bursaries for Undergraduate Studies in South Africa

When should I start applying for bursaries?

It’s advisable to begin your bursary search about 12 months before you will require funding for university/college to take advantage of early application windows, often around April-June. However, some bursaries only open later in the year.

Where can I find bursaries to apply for?

Use the search platforms listed in this guide as a starting point. Also check university and company websites directly plus approach relevant organisations in your field of interest. Sign up for alerts from key providers.

What information do I need to apply for bursaries?

When applying you will need certified copies of your ID, matric results, tertiary academic records, parent/guardian payslips or affidavits for income verification, acceptance letter from your university, and other eligibility documents specified by each bursary provider.

If I don’t get a bursary on my first try, should I apply again?

Definitely! It often takes multiple application attempts to succeed with bursaries. As long as you meet the eligibility criteria, keep applying annually until you get funded. Update your applications each time to increase your chances.

How do I find bursaries for my specific field of study?

Use the study field filters on the main search platforms. Look for bursaries from associations or companies within your industry of interest e.g. teaching, mining, accounting bodies. Check university department offerings for your degree area.

What is the best way to create a good bursary application?

Read the requirements carefully, follow all instructions, answer the questions clearly and check for errors. Provide detailed information on your background, academic records, achievements and financial need as required. Ask someone to review your application before submission.

I hope these tips help you secure bursary funding for your undergraduate studies! Let me know if you have any other questions.


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