Sugar Industry Trust Fund for Education Bursary 2024 – A Complete Guide

The prestigious Sugar Industry Trust Fund for Education (SITFE) provides bursaries each year aimed at developing skills and talent for South Africa’s sugar industry. These bursaries offer students from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to access quality tertiary education.

This comprehensive guide provides all key details of the SITFE bursary offering for 2024. We outline the provider background, bursary coverage, eligibility criteria, qualifying fields of study, step-by-step application instructions, and FAQs.

Whether you’re a prospective or current tertiary student, read on to understand how to apply for this invaluable SITFE bursary funding.

SITFE Bursary


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About the Sugar Industry Trust Fund for Education (SITFE)

The Sugar Industry Trust Fund for Education (SITFE) was founded in 1964 by the South African Sugar Association (SASA) to help develop skills for the sugarcane sector.

SITFE provides full-cost bursaries, scholarships and leadership training to students from disadvantaged communities in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga – the key provinces where sugarcane is farmed and processed.

Over the past decades, SITFE funding has supported thousands of students to access higher education and grow South Africa’s pool of agricultural, engineering and science professionals.

SITFE is funded by voluntary contributions from large sugar milling companies based on the total tons of sugarcane milled annually. This creates a pool of funds to invest back into developing human capital for the industry.

Overview of the SITFE Bursary Program

The SITFE bursary program provides funding to students pursuing full-time studies related to agriculture, engineering and science. There are also bursaries open solely to the children of sugarcane farm workers to pursue any field of study.

These bursaries aim to alleviate financial barriers to higher education for disadvantaged youth from the KZN and Mpumalanga sugar growing regions.

Bursaries are provided on an annual renewable basis, subject to academic progression and continued eligibility. Recipients complete paid vacation internships in the sugar industry to gain experience.

Fields of Study Supported by SITFE Bursaries

The SITFE bursary program is divided into two focus areas:

1. Agriculture, Engineering and Science

Fields supported under this category include:

  • Agriculture
  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Food Science & Technology
  • Chemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physics

2. General Studies

  • Open to children of sugarcane farm workers only
  • Covers any field of study at a recognized tertiary institution

Students must be studying or planning to study one of the above focus areas to be considered for SITFE funding.

Bursary Funding Available from SITFE

The SITFE bursaries are very comprehensive in the benefits provided:

  • Full tuition and registration fees
  • Allowance for prescribed textbooks
  • Laptop allowance provided once over duration of studies
  • Monthly living allowance
  • Accommodation support if living away from home
  • Contribution toward meal costs
  • Vacation work and internship stipends

Together this amounts to funding valued at R80,000 – R120,000 per bursary recipient annually.

The bursaries remove the key financial obstacles that can prevent access to tertiary learning for disadvantaged youth from rural sugarcane communities.

Who Qualifies to Apply for SITFE Bursaries?

To be considered eligible for a SITFE bursary as a new applicant, you must:

Citizenship, Residence & Schooling Requirements

  • Be a South African citizen.
  • Reside in a sugarcane growing community in KZN or Mpumalanga.
  • Have attended all high schooling in South Africa.

Financial Requirements

  • Have a household income between R350,000 – R600,000 per annum.
  • Not already hold bursaries that cover over 75% of your academic fees.

Academic Requirements

  • Have completed Matric and achieved at least 70% in all your subjects.
  • Have received exemption for university study.
  • Have received provisional acceptance to study full-time at an accredited South African university in 2024.
  • Be pursuing an undergraduate degree supported by SITFE.
  • Maintain strong academic results throughout your studies.

Additionally, those already studying a SITFE-supported degree can also apply, provided their academic performance has been satisfactory.

How to Apply for the SITFE Bursary

The SITFE bursary application process for 2024 funding includes:

Step 1) Confirm you meet all the eligibility criteria.

Step 2) Gather certified copies of your supporting documents.

Step 3) Complete the SITFE online application form before the 12 January deadline through their website.

Step 4) Submit your proof of residence, academic records, ID copy, family income statements and other required documents.

Step 5) If shortlisted, prepare for panel interviews to assess your merit for the bursary program.

Step 6) Accept your bursary offer if awarded and complete necessary paperwork.

Submitting a high-quality, complete application by the closing date gives you the best shot at this funding.

SITFE Bursary Key Dates and Deadlines

Here are the important SITFE bursary dates to note:

  • August 2023 – Online application portal opens.
  • 12 January 2024 – Final closing date for all bursary applications.
  • February 2024 – Shortlisted candidates invited for interviews.
  • March 2024 – Bursary recipients announced.
  • January 2025 – Bursary funding commences.

Diarise these key dates and be ready to begin your application as soon as it opens in August. Late or incomplete submissions won’t be accepted.

Key Documents Needed for Your SITFE Application

To complete your bursary application, you must submit:

  • A certified copy of your South African ID.
  • A certified copy of your final Grade 12 results certificate.
  • Tertiary academic transcripts and acceptance letter if already enrolled at university.
  • Proof of your home address in a sugarcane growing community (e.g. municipal utility bill).
  • Proof of your parents’ income (pay slips or SARS documents).
  • Reference letter from your school or community leader.

Compile these well in advance of the application deadline.

Application Tips and Hints for SITFE Bursary Success

Follow these expert tips for the strongest SITFE bursary application:

  • Start preparing your application materials early. Don’t leave it to the last minute.
  • Read and follow all instructions closely to avoid disqualification.
  • Be sure to meet the January application deadline. Late applications won’t be accepted.
  • If invited for an interview, prepare thoroughly and present yourself professionally.
  • Research the sugar industry so you can discuss your career goals and alignment with SITFE’s objectives.
  • If called for interviews, have reliable transport arrangements if travelling from out of town.
  • Ask your school counsellor or teachers to review your application before submission.


SITFE Bursary Application FAQs

Here are some common questions asked about the SITFE bursary program:

If I’m awarded another bursary after SITFE accepts me, is that allowed?

Yes, you can hold additional bursaries as long as the combined coverage doesn’t exceed 75% of your academic expenses. Inform SITFE of any additional funding you secure.

Do I need to have received an acceptance from university before applying?

No. You can apply using your Matric results first before you have received your official tertiary acceptance. Submit this once available.

Can I submit a late application after the 12 January deadline?

Unfortunately, no late applications can be accepted by SITFE. You will need to reapply the following year if you miss the deadline.

How are bursary recipients chosen from the applicants?

SITFE evaluates applicants based on merit, financial need, potential, and performance during panel interviews. The strongest candidates will be awarded the bursaries.

If unsuccessful, can I reapply for the bursary again?

Yes, you are welcome to reapply in future years as long as you still meet the core bursary eligibility criteria.


The SITFE bursary program is an invaluable opportunity for disadvantaged students to access quality higher education and skills development. This guide has equipped you with everything you need to submit an eligible, competitive funding application for their 2024 offerings.

From the qualifying fields of study, to required documents and interview tips, you now have the knowledge to complete the process successfully. Commit to an application of quality and substance to secure this life-changing SITFE bursary. With passion and dedication, your future in the agricultural or engineering sectors awaits!


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