How to Apply for a SETA Bursary 2024

A Comprehensive Guide to Successfully Applying for SETA Bursaries in South Africa

SETA or Sector Education and Training Authority bursaries provide valuable funding for students pursuing studies in key industry sectors in South Africa. Hundreds of students access tertiary education annually through the range of bursary programs offered by the 21 SETAs. This detailed guide covers everything you need to know about eligibility, choosing the right SETA, finding appropriate bursary programs, the step-by-step application process, required documents, additional requirements, submission tips, and resources to help you successfully secure a SETA bursary.

How to Apply for a SETA Bursary


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Introduction to SETAs

SETAs or Sector Education and Training Authorities are statutory bodies established through the Skills Development Act of 1998 to promote skills development in key economic sectors. There are 21 SETAs that focus on sectors ranging from agriculture, banking, construction, energy to tourism and more.

SETAs are funded through skills levies paid by employers as well as allocates from the National Skills Fund. A key initiative of SETAs is providing bursaries to equip youth with qualifications and skills needed by various industries.

Benefits of SETA Bursaries

Here are some of the top advantages of securing a SETA bursary:

  • Provide full or partial funding for tuition fees and associated costs
  • Open doors to careers in high-demand sectors
  • Combine work integrated learning with studies
  • Offer mentorship and internship opportunities
  • Support youth from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Require payback through service contracts in some cases

By providing financial assistance and industry exposure, SETA bursaries expand access to quality tertiary education.

Eligibility Criteria for SETA Bursaries

Here is an overview of the basic eligibility criteria for SETA bursary applicants:


  • Must be a South African citizen

Age Limit

  • Typically between 18-35 years old

Academic Status

  • Recent Matriculants to existing university students
  • Minimum academics criteria varies by SETA

Employment Status

  • Requirements differ – can be for unemployed or employed

Study Field

  • Varies per SETA but aligned to their sector

Financial Need

  • Many SETAs prioritize disadvantaged applicants

Meeting the above criteria as per the specific SETA bursary program rules is crucial.

Choosing the Right SETA

With 21 SETAs to choose from, you need to identify the most relevant one for your studies and interests.

Consider your field of study – Align with the SETA that caters to your degree/diploma sector.

Review priority occupations – SETAs provide bursaries for occupations critical to their mandate.

Assess opportunities – Compare funding amounts, additional benefits, workplace prospects etc. that each SETA offers.

Analyze application success – Consider the competitiveness and application volumes when deciding.

Doing thorough research is key to identifying the optimal SETA to apply to for your bursary.

Finding Appropriate Bursary Programs

Once you’ve identified your target SETA, the next step is finding suitable bursary programs to apply for.

  • Check SETA website – Details on current programs are provided online.
  • Contact SETA office – Enquire with the SETA Education and Training department for latest opportunities.
  • Review annual reports – These highlight priority skills areas where bursaries are offered.
  • Attend SETA events – Information sessions and career expos provide bursary updates.
  • Liaise with university – Offices like Financial Aid have details on SETA programs for your degree.
  • Check application portals – Sites like list programs across SETAs.

Thorough research is key to identifying current SETA bursaries aligned to your studies.

Step-by-Step Guide to the SETA Bursary Application Process

Here is a step-by-step guide to applying for SETA bursaries:

Step 1: Confirm Eligibility

Ensure you meet all the basic criteria like age, academic status, studies field etc.

Step 2: Gather Required Documents

Have your ID, Matric certificate, academic records, proof of acceptance/enrollment etc. ready.

Step 3: Complete Application Form

Download and fill out the application form completely with your details, qualifications, motivation etc.

Step 4: Check for Additional Requirements

Some SETAs require supplementary items like research proposals, videos, interviews etc.

Step 5: Submit Your Application

Send your bursary application with supporting documents before the specified deadline.

Step 6: Track and Monitor Application Status

Follow up with the SETA if you do not get a confirmation of receipt. Check if shortlisted.

Following these key steps will ensure you complete all aspects of the SETA bursary application process successfully.

Required Documentation for SETA Bursary Applications

Typical documents you need to submit with your SETA bursary application include:

  • Certified copy of South African ID book/card
  • Certified copy of Matric certificate or results
  • Latest academic transcripts/records if currently studying
  • Proof of acceptance from university if first year applicant
  • Completed bursary application form
  • Motivation letter and CV
  • Reference letters from teachers or lecturers
  • Proof of employment if required for the program
  • Any other evidence like awards, achievements etc.

Submitting complete, authentic documents greatly strengthens your chances of selection.

Additional Requirements for Some SETA Bursaries

Beyond standard documentation, some SETA bursaries may require:

Video submission – Record a 1-2 minute video introducing yourself and your motivations.

Research proposal – Submit a concise proposal for an industry-related research project.

Psychometric testing – Complete online assessments testing aptitude, numeracy etc.

Panel interviews – Attend an in-person interview with SETA selection panel.

Medical checkup – Undergo a basic medical exam and submit results.

Employer endorsement – Get a letter of support from your employer in the sector.

Be sure to check the stipulated requirements for your target bursary program.

Top Tips for a Successful SETA Bursary Application

Follow these proven tips when applying for SETA bursaries:

  • Begin early, don’t delay preparing your application.
  • Follow all instructions carefully and provide complete information.
  • Write clearly and review for grammar/spelling errors before submitting.
  • Highlight your academic achievements, skills and interests.
  • Read up on the SETA’s industry and goals to demonstrate motivation.
  • Call or email SETA to resolve any questions well in advance.
  • Keep copies of all documents and proof of application submission.
  • Don’t miss the closing deadline which is non-negotiable.

Submitting a polished, compelling application by the cut-off date is key.

Helpful Resources for Your SETA Bursary Application

Here are some useful sources of help when applying for SETA bursaries:

  • SETA websites – Details on programs, application forms etc.
  • National Department of Higher Education
  • National Student Financial Aid Scheme
  • Student Funding Portal
  • University Financial Aid Offices – Program and application support.
  • Bursary directories – Websites collating bursary lists across SETAs.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to these resources if needing any assistance with your SETA bursary application.


SETA bursaries present a valuable opportunity for youth looking to access higher education and skills in priority industry areas. By selecting the appropriate SETA, finding relevant bursary programs, preparing compliant applications, and submitting complete, accurate documents before deadlines, prospective students can secure this impactful funding source.

The comprehensive guidance provided in this article equips applicants with the key insights and steps to navigate the SETA bursary process effectively. With quality tertiary education becoming increasingly costly, SETA bursaries empower deserving, ambitious students to overcome financial barriers and develop as future leaders in their chosen fields.

FAQs on Applying for SETA Bursaries

How many bursaries does each SETA offer annually?

The number varies by SETA based on budget and sector priorities. Most SETAs provide over 100 bursaries per year.

What is the typical bursary amount provided?

SETA bursaries generally cover all or a significant portion of academic fees and associated costs. Amounts range from R20,000 to R80,000.

Is a SETA bursary renewable for all years of study?

Renewal criteria differs – some SETAs renew automatically, others require meeting academic and service targets. Check terms.

Do I need to work for the SETA after graduating if funded?

Some SETAs require a year of work per bursary year funded. Others have no service obligations.

Can current university students also apply for SETA bursaries?

Yes, SETA bursaries cater to students already doing tertiary studies, not just Matriculants.

Where can I get assistance with my SETA bursary application?

You can contact the SETA Education and Training department, university Financial Aid office, student advisors etc. for help.

Securing a SETA bursary can be life-changing for a student’s access to education, future employability and career development.


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