SETA Bursary Requirements 2024

A Complete Guide to SETA Bursary Eligibility Criteria and Requirements in South Africa

SETA or Sector Education and Training Authority bursaries provide invaluable financial support and career development opportunities for students pursuing studies in key industry areas. However, applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria and requirements to qualify for this highly sought-after funding.

This comprehensive guide examines the core criteria SETA bursaries assess, additional requirements, resources to find specifics, tips for successful applications, and FAQs to equip prospective candidates with insights on optimizing their chances.

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Introduction to SETA Bursary Eligibility

SETAs or Sector Education and Training Authorities are statutory bodies established by the Skills Development Act of 1998 to promote education and skills development in crucial economic sectors. Funded through skills levies on companies, SETAs award bursaries to deserving, high-potential students pursuing qualifications in these priority skills areas.

However, competition for SETA bursaries is stiff. Only students who meet the outlined eligibility criteria even qualify for consideration. Understanding the core requirements is therefore essential before applying.

Basic Eligibility Criteria

Here are the fundamental criteria all SETA bursary applicants must comply with:

South African Citizenship

  • Must have a valid South African ID document or proof of permanent residence.

Age Limit

  • Requirement is typically between 18-35 years old.
  • Some exceptions for older applicants with relevant experience.

Academic Status and Performance

  • Can be recent Matriculants to existing university students.
  • Minimum academic grade thresholds apply, usually 50% average or higher.

Area of Study

  • Chosen degree/diploma field must align with SETA’s industry scope.
  • Priority skills qualifications preferred.

Not meeting any of the above core criteria immediately disqualifies an application even before assessment.

Additional Eligibility Requirements

In addition to the basic criteria, SETA bursaries often specify:

Employment Status

  • Some target only unemployed applicants.
  • Others require students to be already employed in the industry.

Financial Means Testing

  • Assessing personal/family income through pay slips, affidavits etc.
  • Prioritizing applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Motivation Demonstration

  • Submission of written motivation detailing passion and alignment for chosen field of study.
  • Recorded video pitch to showcase enthusiasm and aptitude.

Disability Considerations

  • Providing proof of disability condition if applying for reserved bursary places.

Fulfilling both basic and additional criteria as per program guidelines is key.

Resources to Find SETA-Specific Requirements

Where can prospective students find the eligibility criteria for SETA bursaries they are interested in?

SETA Websites

  • Each SETA website outlines criteria for their bursary schemes.

Bursary Portal Sites

  • Aggregators like compile eligibility specifics.

University Financial Aid Offices

  • Provide details on all SETA bursaries available for enrolled programs.

SETA Contact Centres

  • Call or email SETA education departments to enquire.

SETA Publications

  • Criteria detailed in annual reports and funding guides.

Utilizing these resources helps identify the right SETA bursary matching your unique profile.

Application Tips to Successfully Meet Requirements

Here are some tips to submit an eligibility-compliant, competitive SETA bursary application:

  • Carefully review the criteria for the specific SETA bursary and assess fit.
  • Give yourself sufficient time to gather all the required documentation.
  • Follow the application instructions meticulously and provide complete information.
  • Double check that all copied documents are properly certified.
  • Submit the completed application before the published deadline.
  • Call the SETA to clarify any aspect of the requirements you are unsure of.
  • Check that your application includes the motivational letter or video if stipulated.
  • Highlight where you strongly meet criteria like academic excellence.
  • Have a thorough understanding of the SETA’s industry and priorities.

Following these best practices will position you well to advance through the eligibility screening.

Typical Supporting Documentation Needed

In addition to the completed application form itself, required supporting documents usually include:

  • Certified copy of ID document
  • Certified copy of Matric certificate
  • Recent transcript of university results
  • Proof of university acceptance or enrollment
  • Motivation letter and CV
  • Financial means test evidence
  • Disability proof or other special consideration documents

Submitting complete, compliant documentation is vital.

Consequences of Not Meeting Criteria

Applicants who fail to satisfy the stipulated eligibility criteria face the following consequences:

  • Immediate disqualification even before evaluation stage
  • Rejection feedback citing non-compliance to criteria
  • Need to reapply in following years if criteria evolves
  • Application fees and costs incurred are forfeited

Given the competitive process, inability to meet all criteria is detrimental to accessing SETA funding. Students must thus verify fit thoroughly before applying.

Typical Minimum Academic Requirements

Beyond citizenship and age criteria, meeting minimum academic criteria is essential. Typical requirements are:


  • Bachelor’s degree study: Minimum 65% average and subject distinctions
  • Diploma study: Minimum 60% average

Existing University Students

  • Undergraduate: Most recent results over 60%
  • Honours: Minimum final year aggregate of 65%
  • Masters: Minimum undergraduate aggregate of 65%
  • PhD: Minimum masters aggregate of 65% with research potential

Excelling academically is key to unlocking SETA funding for studies.

Illustrative Examples of Eligibility Criteria

To make criteria more tangible, here are examples from real SETA bursary schemes:

MerSETA BEng Bursary

  • South African citizen
  • Registered for accredited engineering degree
  • Maximum age of 35 years
  • Minimum 75% average in Grade 12 results

HWSETA BSc Nursing Bursary

  • Unemployed applicants only
  • Registered at university for BSc Nursing
  • Not older than 30 years
  • At least 60% average in prior nursing diploma

AgriSETA BTech Agriculture Bursary

  • Open only to employed agricultural sector workers
  • Registered for BTech Agriculture at accredited university
  • Between ages 25-40 years old
  • 3 years experience in agriculture

As evident, criteria differ based on the SETA, qualification, and target group. Understanding these specifics is crucial.

Considerations for Students with Disabilities

Many SETAs explicitly state disability-related requirements, for example:

  • Submitting a medical proof of disability certificate
  • Providing learning needs assessments
  • Passing basic competency assessments
  • Meeting reasonable minimum academic criteria
  • Confirming registration with disability offices

Accommodations and support are factored in by SETAs that offer dedicated disability bursary places. Transparency on needs is advisable when applying.

Typical Age Limit Requirements

While the standard age range is 18-35 years old, typical exceptions include:

  • Engineers/CAs/doctors: Up to 40 years old
  • Applicants with disabilities: No age limit
  • Employed applicants: Up to 40-45 years old
  • Applicants with proven experience in the sector: Up to 45 years old

Meeting the age limit for your category is necessary for most SETAs.


SETA bursaries represent a highly valued funding source for aspirant South African students hoping to pursue studies and careers in key national industry areas. But accessing this competitive funding hinges on meeting various eligibility criteria and requirements outlined by SETAs. This guide provides comprehensive details on the core criteria like citizenship, academic performance and age limits as well as additional requirements, supporting documents needed, disability considerations and resources to identify SETA-specific qualifications. Understanding the criteria thoroughly and submitting compliant, high-quality applications gives students the best chance of securing life-changing SETA bursary opportunities.


How many criteria must be met for SETA bursaries?

Typically 5-8 criteria spanning citizenship, age, employment status, academics, field of study etc. must be met to qualify for SETA bursaries.

Can current university students apply for SETA bursaries?

Yes, students already enrolled in degree programs can absolutely apply for and receive SETA bursaries if meeting the stipulated criteria.

Do all SETA bursaries require submitting motivation documents?

Many but not all SETAs require motivational letters, videos or essays. Check criteria of your chosen bursary for specifics.

Is financial need the most important eligibility criteria?

While advantageous, financial need alone does not guarantee SETA funding if other criteria like solid academics are not fulfilled.

Can I get a SETA bursary for distance learning or part-time studies?

Most SETA bursaries are for full-time contact learning programs. Some like MSESETA cater to distance and after-hours students.

If I don’t meet criteria this year, can I apply again later?

Yes, you can absolutely reapply for the same or other SETA bursaries in following years if you meet evolving criteria.

Carefully confirming you meet each eligibility requirement is the vital first step to accessing impactful SETA bursaries.


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