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Directorate: Student Funding

Who qualifies for funding?


A student qualifies for a NSFAS loan if he or she is

  • a South African citizen
  • accepted as a student who is eligible to register with the University of South Africa at the time the loan is made
  • an undergraduate student
  • a postgraduate student studying towards a professional qualification required to secure employment
  • able to demonstrate potential for academic success and financial need as determined by the NSFAS means test (the NSFAS means test calculates the student's ability to contribute to his/her education based on family income and other sources of funding received)
  • Only applicants who apply before the closing dates are considered:
    • First Semester closing date - End September of each year
    • Second Semester closing date - End of April of each year
  • The application form can be downloaded by clicking NSFAS Application FormPDF for new applicants and NSFAS Re-application formPDF for re-applicants.

NSFAS Bursaries

  1. Agriculture
    South African students studying a undergraduate qualification in agriculture can apply for this bursary at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) for this bursary.

  2. DE Disability
    This bursary is exclusively for undergraduate South African students with permanent disabilities. Upon registration please indicate the nature of the disability on the registration form. Students have to submit a medical certificate and assessment forms for their application to be considered.

  3. Department Social Development
    The Social Development bursary is awarded only to South African students studying the Bachelor degree in Social Work. Students have to apply at their regional Department of Social Development. Successful applicants will receive an award letter which has to be presented upon registration. Students will be evaluated based on their academic potential to succeed and financial need.

  4. Funza Lushaka
    The Funza Lushaka bursary is awarded to South African students studying a qualification in teaching (within identified areas of speciality) and who are willing to teach in public schools upon completion of their studies. The period of teaching in the public school will be equal to the number of years for which the bursary was awarded. Should a student not be willing to teach in an alloted public school, the award is turned into a loan which has to be repaid with interest. Students apply online at window) before the closing dates. Re-applicants have to apply before 30 November each year and new applicants before the third week in January.

  5. NatSkills
    The NatSkills bursary is awarded to South African students who comply with the scarce and pririty skills as identified in the list below. Equity targets has to be met in that 85% of recipients are black, 54% are women and 5% of recipients are students with disabilities. The Academic performance of applicants are assessed to determine recipients.

    Scarce skills list:
    - Accounting
    - Financial management
    - Acturial studies
    - Auditing
    - Business management
    - Economics
    - Physics
    - Computer Sciences
    - Chemistry
    - Geology
    - Information systems
    - Mathematical sciences
    - Agriculture
    - Statistics
    - Financial accounting
    - Biotechnology
    - Engineering

  6. Nedbank
    The Nedbank bursary is awarded to South African students studing a qualification in finance. Students can apply at any Nedbank branch for this bursary and forward Unisa DSF their award letters. Selection is made based on academic performance.

Other Bursaries

These bursaries are obtained from a variety of Donors and have their own individual critieria. Application forms for these bursaries are obtainable from Unisa Regional offices and from DSF.

  1. BestMed
    The BestMed bursary is awarded to South African students studying a qualification in nursing. Successful applicants must be financially needy and show academic potential to succeed.

  2. Conrad Theys Visual Arts Bursary
    The Contrad Theys Visual Arts bursary is a once-off grant of R5000 made to students studying a qualification in visual arts towards their project and/or study fee costs. Applications are considered by the Department of Visual Arts for selection.

  3. College Bursaries
    A variety of bursaries are available at each of the academic colleges at Unisa. Students can contact DSF correctly for information regarding these bursaries.

  4. JDGT Club/Unisa Bursary
    Application forms for this bursary is available in all JDGT Club magazines. Completed applications must be submitted, together with relevant documentation for consideration. Students need to be active members of any one of the JDGT Clubs to be considered.

  5. Margaret Orr Bursary
    This bursary is available to black female students under the age of 25 studying towards an undergraduate qualification and black female students under the age of 35 studying towards a postgraduate qualification. The application form can be downloaded by clicking Margaret Orr Application form.PDF

  6. Old Mutual Bursary
    The Old Mutual Bursary is available for all students studying a qualification in commerce, statistics, agriculture and law. Students are selected based on their academic performance, students do not need to apply for this bursary.

  7. Postgraduate Bursary
    The postgraduate bursary is available for students studying towards a research masters and doctorate. Course work masters (limited scope) is not considered for this bursary. Application forms can be obtained from DSF. The bursary covers registration and research activities for successful applicants. The application can be downloaded by clicking Postgraduate Bursary application..doc

  8. South African Women's Graduate Bursary
    This bursary is available for female students and is a once-off award of R3000 towards their study fees. Students need to complete an application form and submit it together with all required documentation and a motivational essay for consideration.

  9. Unisa Foundation Bursaries
    The Unisa Foundation from time-to-time receive donations from donors to be allocated as bursaries for Unisa students.  The conditions and criteria for these bursaries vary and is determined by the respective donors. Currently these bursaries are available for honours, postgraduate, logistics and graduating students.

  10. Unisa Theology Bursary
    Students studying towards a qualfication in Theology can apply for this bursary at the academic department.

Funding not administred by Unisa

  1. Eduloan and financial institutions
    Loans are available from eduloan and financial insitutions such as banks and credit service providers.

    Eduloan loans are available for study fees, outstanding balances, books, laptops and educational accessories. For more nformation call 0860 55 55 44; or visit the Eduloan office at any Unisa regional centre; or apply online at window); or SMS"Edu" to 32150.

    Loans from banks and other financial institutions can be obtained from them based on their individual criteria, some contact numbers are:
    ABSA Bank    0860 111 456
    Stnadard Bank / Stanlib    0860 386 3472
    Nedbank/Nedgroup Inv    0860 123 263
    FNB    0861 40 40 40
  2. Bursaries not administered by UNISA
    A variety of bursaries exist that are sponsored by several corporations, each with each own criteria and closing dates. You can obtain information regarding these bursaries by clicking the Bursary Pack.PDF

  3. NRF
    The National Research Foundation (NRF) offers bursaries for students studying towards postgraduate qualifications. For more information regarding these bursaries please visit window)