How To Apply for a Bursary at Stellenbosch University
Securing Crucial Funding: A Guide to SU Bursary Applications

Pursuing tertiary studies can be an expensive undertaking. Thankfully, Stellenbosch University (SU) offers a range of invaluable bursary and financial aid options. In this comprehensive guide, I explore the ins and outs of navigating the SU funding landscape and crafting water-tight bursary applications.

How To Apply for a Bursary at Stellenbosch University


How Much Do Bursaries Pay In South Africa?

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Overview of SU Bursaries Landscape

SU facilitates diverse bursary and funding opportunities to empower students facing financial constraints. Backed by government, corporate sponsors and private donors, over R320 million is allocated annually.

From merit-based faculty awards to sweeping financial aid for disadvantaged students, SU strives to ensure money never dashes dreams. If you have the academic capability but not the backing, read on to uncover how to access funding.

Here’s an overview of the types of bursaries and funding available through SU:

NSFAS Financial Assistance

  • For financially needy SA citizens
  • Covers full cost of study
  • Combination of loan and bursary

Gap Funding

  • Top-up awards if NSFAS inadequate
  • E.g. food, books, transport allowance

External Donor Bursaries

  • 100s of bursaries for diverse fields
  • Awarded based on criteria like academics, leadership, social conscience and financial need

Merit Bursaries

  • For top academic performers * Competitive faculty-level awards
  • Rewards excellence

**Postgraduate Funding **

  • Research grants and scholarships
  • Enables further study

With this range of options, financial difficulties need not halt SU dreams.

Step-By-Step Bursary Application Process

Here is a detailed walkthrough of the key steps involved in securing SU bursaries:

1. Research Funding Database

Your first step is browsing the SU Online Funding Database to identify potential awards.

Use filters to find bursaries aligned to:

  • Field of study
  • Degree type
  • Academic year

Closely review listings and take notes on opportunities matching your circumstances and eligibility.

2. Evaluate Eligibility

Once you’ve compiled a list of prospects, assess if you meet all the eligibility criteria for each bursary, including:

  • SA citizenship
  • Academic performance thresholds
  • Financial need requirements
  • Specific diversity criteria

This helps verify which bursaries to actively pursue through application.

3. Prepare Documentation

Every bursary application requires various supporting documents, so prepare these ahead of time:

  • Certified copy of ID
  • Proof of university acceptance
  • Latest academic transcripts
  • Financial statements
  • Reference letter
  • Motivation letter

Thorough preparation prevents last-minute delays.

4. Complete Online Application

Access the SU Online Funding System and select your chosen bursaries. Provide all required info and upload supporting docs.

Apply early – the portal opens in July annually.

5. Check and Submit

Carefully review your application to ensure all sections completed, necessary docs included and submit BEFORE the cut-off date.

6. Await Outcome

Bursary decisions are generally communicated from November onwards.

7. Accept Award

If successful, sign acceptance of the bursary offer and its conditions.

This 7-step process summarizes the recommended bursary application methodology. Advance planning and diligent execution is key.

Crafting a Compelling Application

With so much funding competition, creating an exceptional, memorable bursary application is crucial.

Here are 8 proven tips:

Showcase Academics

  • Highlight consistently excellent results
  • Convey eagerness to keep excelling

Demonstrate Leadership

  • Provide examples of demonstrating leadership attributes like integrity, vision and responsibility.

Share Your Passion

  • Articulate what drives your enthusiasm for your chosen field of study

Align with Funder Values

  • Ensure your goals and vision resonates with the donor’s priorities

Explain Financial Need

  • Substantiate need by including income statements, payslips etc.

Get a Reference

  • Ask lecturer, teacher or community leader to endorse your application.

Proofread Meticulously

  • Avoid careless errors by reviewing carefully before submission

This advice will help your application leap off the page. Submit something you feel proud of.

Common Bursary FAQs

Here I address some frequently asked questions around SU bursaries:

What is the minimum academic requirement?

It depends on funding type but 60%+ average is fairly standard. Merit awards demand higher thresholds.

When do I apply?

The SU online portal opens for bursary applications in July annually. Final cut-off is end October.

Can I hold multiple bursaries?

Yes, you can hold several complementary bursaries provided all conditions are met. Declare supplementary awards upfront.

What happens if I fail a year?

You would unfortunately forfeit continued bursary support. But can reapply after resuming studies if exceptional circumstances caused the fail.

I trust these answers provide helpful clarification. Please reach out to SU directly for any other queries.

In Closing

I encourage every aspirant SU student facing financial constraints to thoroughly investigate bursary options. With hundreds of awards on offer, chances of relevant funding match are extremely favorable if applications are handled strategically. Do your research, demonstrate your worth confidently and take charge of unlocking your potential without money matters holding you back.


What documents do NSFAS applications require?

NSFAS applications require your ID, parent/guardian payslips and bank statements, death certificates if applicable, and previous year academic results.

By when should new undergraduate students apply for bursaries?

Prospective first year students should apply as soon as the portal opens in July the year before your studies commence to optimize your chances.

Can international students get funding?

Limited dedicated funding exists for SADC and international students who meet eligibility criteria. Enquire directly with the SU International Office.

What happens if I get full NSFAS funding?

If you are approved for full NSFAS funding, you don’t need to apply for other internal SU funding as your study costs are fully covered.

I hope this empowers your bursary application efforts. Please contact CSC if any outstanding questions. Wish you the very best!


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