Advantages of bursaries in South Africa | Are there any disadvantages?

Advantages of bursaries in South Africa | Are there any disadvantages?

Bursaries are essential because they lighten the financial burden of acquiring education. Education is a basic need in the 21st century, whether you choose formal employment or entrepreneurship. The world needs intelligent people to solve current and future social, economic and religious issues. So, what are the advantages of bursaries in South Africa?

Advantages of bursaries
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Education is one of the most expensive basic needs today. The future of humanity is dim because many youths are uncertain about their future. They are dropping out of school because they lack fees and money for personal needs. The good news is that Mzansi has bursaries to secure the youths' future.

What is a bursary?

A bursary or learnership is non-repayable money that a funding authority, individual, or organization gives to a learner. It enables a person to study at a particular learning institution. A bursary, scholarship, fellowship, or grant are different things.

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Bursaries in South Africa

South Africa is proud of the many golden-hearted people who invest in the education sector without expecting repayment. Some of the renowned organizations offering bursaries in the country include:

  • Jakes Gerwel Fellowship bursaries
  • Sanlam actuarial bursaries
  • Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PMASA) bursaries
  • KZN Department of Health bursaries
  • Fort Hare Foundation Student Trust Fund: De Beers bursary
  • TauSadi Mining and Engineering bursaries

Bursary recipients' obligations

Advantages of bursaries
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Source: Getty Images

Before applying for a bursary, ask the donor to explain the obligation of a bursary. All bursaries have policies and regulations that you must follow. Here are common obligations for bursary recipients:

  • Maintain excellent academic performance. People are sacrificing their money to give you a quality education.
  • Attend donors' meetings. Bursary donors meet the beneficiaries to discuss academic and financial challenges beneficiaries face at school.
  • Build a good relationship with donors for they can connect you to employers in future.
  • Volunteer for the donor organization. You will acquire skills and experience that will help you pass job interviews.

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Alternatives to bursaries in South Africa

Compare bursary vs scholarship before deciding what is best for you. These are the most common academic financial aids in Mzansi. However, it would help if you learn more about other student financial support programs available in the country.

Organizations and individuals extend bursaries to students from low-income earning families. Why should I be awarded a bursary? You deserve a bursary if you have exceptional academic potential but need money to help you explore that potential.

A scholarship is a financial award for your excellence in academics or talent (sports, music, etc.). In addition, some scholarships require applicants to win contests like essays, while a fellowship requires selected students to make positive and lasting contributions to their academic disciplines.

Charity organizations give grants to specific groups of students. They are based on social or religious backgrounds, regions, disabilities, and other factors. The only similarity among all these financial support systems is that you do not pay back the money.

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Pros and cons of non-repayable scholarly funding programs

What are some of the pros and cons of receiving scholarships? There are multiple advantages and disadvantages of learnerships. Scholarships, fellowships, and grants' beneficiaries experience similar benefits and drawbacks:


  • You do not pay back the money because they are not loans.
  • They help you complete your college and university education.
  • Some academic financers cater for your books, residence, and personal needs through allowances.
  • Some organizations offer you internships and attachment opportunities.
Advantages of bursaries
Brusaries allow students with low income to pursue their educational dreams. Photo: @Brothers91
Source: Getty Images


  • Some financing programmes are hard to get because of the many interviewers and tests involved.
  • You can lose your educational monetary support if you underperform in your academics.
  • Some funding organizations require you to volunteer with them after or during your studies. However, you might not get accommodation near or within the designated locations.
  • Some aids cover a portion of study expenses only. The remaining costs are on you.

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Government funding

The Mzansi government offers students non-repayable financial support through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). Government funding started as a loan and transitioned into a non-profit making program. However, it is available for students at public universities or TVET colleges only.

Student loans

A student loan is a great alternative when you miss a bursary. So, what is a student loan? It is the money a student borrows from the government as tuition fees and repays it with interest after graduating. So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of study loans?

Pros of student loans

  • The loan helps you afford college education, especially if you come from a financially struggling family.
  • If you have a small business idea like selling second-hand clothes, you can use part of your student loan to start the business.
  • The loan enables you to study at the higher learning institution of your dreams.
  • You will have a good credit score after paying the student loan. A good credit score enables you to get loans for personal development.

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Advantages of bursaries
Female students doing a school research assignment together. Photo: @Alina Rosanova
Source: Getty Images

Cons of student loans

  • The loan is expensive in the long run because of the interest rate.
  • You start life with debt immediately after graduating.
  • You will postpone some of your plans, like investing, to pay the student loan.
  • It is almost impossible to pay the loan if you lack a stable income source.
  • Defaulting the loan harms your credit score. Lenders are sceptical about loaning such people.

Now that you know the advantages of bursaries in South Africa, do not let a bursary slip through your hands if you can grab it. It would help if you also stay on the lookout for other educational funding options discussed above.

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Source: Briefly News

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