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Undergraduate & honours studies

Student fees and funding your studies

Unisaís study fees are generally lower than other higher education institutions, but studying is a significant investment either way. The cost depends on the qualification, obviously, as well as the number of modules you choose.

The average student takes between 4 and 6 modules per year at a cost of between R1 000 and R2 000 per module. The module costs do not include your prescribed books. Books are an additional cost that you must factor into your fee calculations.

Average Unisa student fees

Please note: these fees reflect 2013 prices and are subject to change without prior notice. The maximum amount indicated below is based on 120 credits for the year.

Qualification Minimum per annum Maximum per annum
Advanced Certificate R 12 480 R 14 520
Advanced Diploma R 12 480 R 14 520
BA R 11 800 R 12 100
BCom R 12 587 R 13 373
BEd   R 12 100
LLB   R 12 100
BSc R 10 400 R 12 100
Honours R 11 234 R 20 448
National Diploma R 12 480 R 17 747
National Higher Certificate   R 14 160
Diploma   R 14 520
Postgraduate Certificate R 12 480 R 14 520
Postgraduate Diploma R 12 480 R 14 520

In support of national focus areas, student fees are determined in line with funding from the Department of Higher Education and Training. The tuition fees are lower for quailifcations that receive higher subsidies, and higher lfor those qualifications that receive lower subsidies.

Bursaries and loans for Unisa students

Unisaís Student Funding Division administers donor funding in the form of bursaries and loans to Unisa students. The criteria for awarding these bursaries and loans are determined by the donors of the funding. In addition, Unisa also assists deserving students in the form of financial assistance, specifically honours students.

NSFAS loans

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) operates according to the National Student Financial Aid Act 56 of 1999. If a NSFAS borrower successfully passes all their courses in a particular academic year, their loan amount for that year is reduced by 40%; they only pay interest on 60% of the loan amount. Both the 40% capital amount and all interest on that 40% is written off, because it is treated as a grant or bursary.

Who qualifies for a NSFAS loan?

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

  • a South African citizen.
  • registered at a public South African higher education institution.
  • an undergraduate student studying towards a first higher education qualification.
  • a student studying towards a postgraduate qualification because itís a requirement to practise in his or her chosen profession (such as the Postgraduate Certificate in Education).
  • able to demonstrate potential for academic success and the fact that he or she is financially needy.

Students who receive loans, bursaries or scholarships from other sources that cover the full cost of study are not eligible for a NSFAS loan. If you wish to enrol for postgraduate studies such as an Honours in Theology or an Advanced Diploma in Management, you are not eligible for NSFAS funding.

Interest on loans

  • The annual maximum and minimum loan amounts made by institutions are determined by the NSFAS Board. The NSFAS maximum loan amount is generally equal to the national average full cost of study, as determined by NSFAS.
  • The percentage (a maximum of 40%) of the amount lent to a student may be converted to a bursary if the student is academically successful. The date of the conversion will be determined by NSFAS.
  • The following parameters apply in respect of every year, unless they are changed by NSFAS.
    • Interest on loans will begin to accrue one year after the date of completion of a funded qualification.
    • The NSFAS interest rate is lower than that of the Reserve Bank when it lends to other banks. It is also less than the interest the borrower would pay to any other lender.

How to apply for a NSFAS loan

  • Apply for admission to Unisa and get a Unisa student number.
  • Complete a NSFAS application form (available at or from any Unisa office) and attach all the documents stipulated on the application form.
  • Submit your application and required documents via the drop-off boxes at all Unisa centres. Late, incomplete or faxed applications without supporting documents will not be considered.
  • Register provisionally. (First time Unisa students can register for a maximum of 3 modules.)
  • You will receive an SMS telling you whether your application was successful. Successful applicants will need to sign a loan agreement form at the nearest Unisa office.
  • Unsuccessful applicants should enquire at the nearest Unisa office.

Steps in applying for student funding

Step 1 - Apply for student funding

Step 2 - Do a provisional registration

Step 3 - You will receive an sms notification All applicants who did not receive any notification must go to the nearest Unisa office for enquiries.


Ensure that you have complied with Section 6 regarding supporting documents.
Please note: late, incomplete and faxed application forms without all supporting documents will not be considered.

Semester 1:
15 August - 20 September 2013
Semester 2:
7 - 25 April 2014

Do a provisional registration

First-time Unisa students to register for a maximum of 3 modules.

Semester 1:
26 November - 20 December 2013 / 6 - 24 January 2014
Semester 2:

17 - 27 June 2014

SMS notification

Notification of whether funding application successful or unsuccessful. Successful NSFAS applicants to sign agreement at nearest Unisa office.

Semester 1:
7 - 17 January 2014
Semester 2:

1 - 8 July 2014

All applicants who did not receive any notification must go to the nearest Unisa office for enquiries.

Semester 1:
20 - 22 January 2014
Semester 2:
9 - 11 July 2014


Students are selected by Unisaís Student Funding Division (DSF) in conjunction with the Unisa Foundation.

    Postgraduate finance. Application and selection is done by the SETA.
  • Bestmed
    Students from designated groups registered for Nursing. Must obtain an average of 60%. Application forms are issued by DSF and the selection is done by DSF.
  • Conrad Theys
    Once-off allocation of R5000. Art students studying towards a module in visual arts.
  • Crossroads Distribution (Skynet Worldwide Express)
    Only for South African students registered for postgraduate studies in logistics. Selection done by DSF.
  • De Beers
    Engineering students. Application and selection done by De Beers.
  • Department of Arts & Culture Heritage Foundation
    Students studying archaeology. Students apply directly to Heritage Foundation.
  • Dippenaar & Reynecke
    Only South African students from designated groups. Any qualification, but must obtain an average of 70% or higher. DSF selects the students.
  • Disability
    Students who have a permanent disability. South African students only. First undergraduate qualification. Pay tuition, books & assistive device.
  • Eduloan
    Graduating students with outstanding fees. Students with disabilities. Selection done by DSF.
  • Edward Lekganyane
    All qualifications only for ZCC members. Selection and application process done by ZCC.
    Undergraduate education, PGCE application and selection is done by the SETA.
  • Funza Lushaka
    Teaching qualification, specifically priority areas. South African Citizens. Selection done by selection committee (DSF, College of Education & representatives from DBE).
    Students studying towards a teacherís qualification. Students are identified by the KZN DoE.
  • MIE Background
    Black South African students who show good academic progress. Final-year selection done by DSF.
  • National Skills
    Students studying in area of identified scarce skills. Academic performance. Undergraduate. Means test. South African citizens only.
  • Nedbank
    Qualifications in finance, law and agriculture. Students are identified by Nedbank.
  • Old Mutual Bursary
    Best performing students in identified areas: Accounting, Economics, Statistics, Agriculture. South African citizens only. List drawn by DSF and forwarded to sponsor for selection.
  • SA Women Graduates
    Five best female students. Evaluation done each year. Application forms are issued by DSF and selection done by the SAWG Association.Selection done by National Department of Social Welfare.
  • Social Development
    Students studying Social Work. Selection done by National Department of Social Welfare. Academic progress.
  • TRC
    Students affected by TRC. Allocated by the TRC. South African citizens only.
  • Unisa Theology
    Unisa Theology students, selection is done by the School of Theology.