Top NSFAS Bursary Alternatives to Fund your Education in South Africa 2023

Nsfas bursary alternatives in south africa

Lets’s face it, not all of us are going to get approved into the NSFAS bursary scheme. The #NSFAS2023 application is open and I have seen many students get disappointed. Besides, many students out there are not interested in financing their education with a loan.

The hustle of paying back is another headache.

So what are the alternative ways to fund your education in South Africa?

  • Bursary schemes
  • Scholarships
  • Crowdfunding

We’ll explore these below, but first, let’s find out what exactly they stand for.

A bursary is a grant, especially one awarded to someone to enable them to study at a university or college.

A scholarship is a grant or payment made to support a student’s education, awarded based on academic or other achievements.

Crowdfunding, in this case, is the practice of funding your education by raising money from a large number of people who each contribute a relatively small amount, typically via the Internet.

In January 2019, TimesLive reported a 78.2% matric pass rate for the Class of 2018 and 156,885 distinctions across the country. This means more and more young South Africans will be enrolled in tertiary institutions.

Thus, students are now taking to crowdfunding to finance the next step of their academic journey.

In this post, we’ll look into how to fund your education via these methods and other bursaries like Nsfas.

If you still want to apply for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, here’s a post on how to create nsfas account and apply.

Let’s dive in!!!

Feenix is a crowdfunding platform for students of South Africa to formalize their fundraising efforts and also serve as a channel for funders to find students they wish to support.

It works just as how any crowdfunding platform works. What is unique about feenix is that it is the only nonprofit initiative in SA that pays the historical debt for students.

The fundraising platform was launched in June 2017 as a response to the #FeesMustFall movement that spread across campuses in South Africa during 2015 and 2016.

Feenix has got credible partners which makes it a credible platform to raise funds for your education. Standard Bank is its fundraising partner with other top universities in South Africa as supporting partners and affiliates.

Over 70% of students who registered during the 2018 academic year raised funding through the Feenix Platform.

To get started, all you need to do is create an account (if you meet the requirements listed below) and get started.

Tips to create a good profile

Creating a good profile is key to your success on this platform. The best way around it is to check the profile of other students who have successfully raised enough funds (achieved their goals).

Feenix recommends you have a profile picture with a clear background.

Taking a great profile picture in 3 easy steps:

  • Find your perfect light.
  • Clear up the background.
  • Know your angles. requirements

To be able to register and create an account to raise funds, you need to meet the following requirements.

  1. A South African citizen/permanent resident/refugee or asylum seeker
  2. You are registered at a public South African university
  3. You have current or historical debt owing to your university
  4. Your combined household income under R600k per year
  5. You have a certified copy of your identity document
  6. You have an official* fee statement (not older than 30 days and on the university’s letterhead).

Registrations are however closed for 2023 but will reopen on 03 February 2023.

Make sure you get an updated fee statement from your institution and a certified copy of your ID.


BackaBuddy is a South African crowdfunding platform that is designed to help you create online campaigns to raise funds for causes you are passionate about.

Unlike which focuses on students, is your typical crowdfunding platform.

Since December 2018, BackaBuddy, has welcomed over 50 new crowdfunding campaigns for students looking to fundraise for university deposits, textbooks, and tuition.

If you need help paying your tertiary education fees, sign up to BackaBuddy, tell your story by submitting a video for your campaign, set your target, and begin reaching out to your networks for support.

Bursary Network

Launched in November 2015, Bursary Network is another student-based crowdfunding platform that enables anyone to contribute to educating students attending South African universities.

From as little as R100, Bursary Network allows individuals and institutions to partner in funding the education of students.

So far, Bursary Network has;

  • 1,000 registered donors,
  • R863,917 successfully raised, and
  • 20 students funded.

To get your varsity education fees crowdfunded on you have to fill and complete the online funding application form and attach all the requested documents.

The BursaryNetwork staff will then assess and verify the application’s merits and accuracy with the assistance of the concerned university.

Thereafter they will assist you to build your online profile for your campaign at no cost to you.

FASSET bursary

The Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority (FASSET) bursary scheme is a full bursary program, covering all study-related expenses.

FASSET bursary is one of the government bursaries in SA. As one of South Africa’s SETAs, the company is required to ensure that employees within its sector have the necessary training and education to perform their job.

FASSET bursaries are awarded for studies in Accounting and Finance related fields of study.

Check out: What are the best courses to study in South Africa?

IDC bursary

The IDC bursary is another bursary scheme available to applicants who are studying or who intend to study full-time at an accredited South African university or university of technology.

Applications from students attending TVET colleges will also be accepted. This bursary may also be awarded to complete compulsory postgraduate studies.

You must apply online at the IDC bursary portal. You will be required to register an account before you can log in and apply.

Tuition and campus accommodation will be paid directly to the university. Off-campus accommodation will be paid to the landlord, based on the lease agreement between student and landlord.

Payment for prescribed textbooks is made to the service provider after receipt of quotations and relevant documents. The meal allowance will be paid quarterly.

If you’re an IDC bursary beneficiary, you may be asked to work for the company for a period that is equal to the number of years you received funding.

Application closing date 30 June annually.

FMCSA bursary

Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) is one of South Africa’s largest and leading automotive companies.

FMCSA has joined up with the National Government’s drive of skill development by offering funding for final year students to complete their tertiary education.

If you’re a final year student who wants to apply for FMCSA bursary, you need to be in these fields of study:

  • Finance
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Information Technology
  • Marketing
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Purchasing.

Qualifying criteria

Before sending forms and documents, you must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • South African citizen
  • Final year students
  • Achieved strong academic results.

Are you interested in the FMCSA bursary? Download and complete the application form.

One benefit of this bursary scheme is that, before your graduation, you may be eligible to partake in the Graduate Trainee Program to enable you to gain invaluable practical experience in your career field.

Sasol bursary

Sasol bursary is another evergreen bursary scheme in SA. When I say evergreen, I mean the bursary is available to students every year.

Sasol Limited is a South African company founded in Sasolburg, in the year 1950 and is the very first oil-from-coal company.

The company is known for its development and commercialization of technologies, as well as for building and operating global-scale facilities to create electricity, chemicals, and fuel.

If you want to apply for the Sasol bursary, you must first register online via the Sasol website.

You will then be prompted to answer a few questions regarding your field and level of study. Once you have registered, you can then log in and fill the application.

Bear in mind that Sasol bursary recipients are required to work back the bursary award on completion of their studies (this is mandatory).

PPC bursary

PPC Ltd is a top Southern African supplier of cement and related products. The company offers funding opportunities for SA students in tertiary institutions every year via bursary schemes.

It is a full bursary, providing coverage for the following study-related expenses: tuition fees, accommodation, and meals.

Submission of applications is open all year round and students are welcome to apply at any time.

The PPC bursary will be awarded to students within the following Mining related fields of study:

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mining Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
    (as well as Environmentally-oriented degrees).

Once you have graduated, you will be required to work for PPC (depending on availability within the company) for an equal duration of time as the bursary awarded.

KPMG bursaries

KPMG offers two unique bursary opportunities for students studying towards becoming SAICA accredited Chartered Accountants, or CAs(SA).

In order for KPMG to determine which bursary option you qualify for, they ask that you upload certain necessary documentation.

KPMG reserves the right to solely determine whether you should be awarded the Pure Merit Bursary or the Merit Bursary with Financial Needs and to determine the amount awarded under such bursary.

Aurecon South Africa bursary scheme

If you are a South African citizen, and studying or intending to study BSc or BEng in Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Electronic, Mechatronic, Industrial, Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Degrees at recognized Universities in South Africa, then you should apply for the Aurecon South Africa Bursary Scheme.

Aurecon is an engineering, design, and advisory company.

After graduation, you get to work for Aurecon, for every one year that you’ve had a bursary with us (including any suspension period).

In-service training periods are excluded from this. The service obligation period will commence after the successful completion of studies/after graduation.

The Hexagon Trust bursaries

The Hexagon Trust, a charitable non-profit NGO situated in Durban, South Africa provides opportunities for students to realize their full educational potential.

The trust provides bursaries to economically disadvantaged SA students. Financial assistance is awarded for study in the Science, Engineering, and Commerce fields at the tertiary level.

The bursaries offered by the trust cover registration, tuition fees, and a book allowance.

You can apply for the Hexagon Trust bursary on their website.

List of websites to get the latest bursaries

There’s a saying that “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” There are numerous SA bursaries out there but we can only find them via bursary portals.

Now let’s explore the websites to get the latest SA bursaries from.

Bursaries Portal: From government bursaries to the latest SA bursaries, is worth a mention. They have a unique way of searching for bursaries by selecting the closing dates etc…

Edufunding: has one of the largest collections of funding opportunities available for SA students. Browse and apply for as many funding opportunities as you like from their website.

Other similar websites;

Frequently asked questions

What is a bursary in South Africa?

A bursary is a grant (sum of money), awarded to someone to enable them to study at a university or college in South Africa. Many organizations, government or corporate, offer the bursary to study at a university and it covers the costs of full tuition fees.

How does a bursary work?

It’s a financial award, usually given as a lump sum at the start of the academic year, or paid in installments each semester. It does not have to be repaid, which makes it really helpful for students who might otherwise not be able to afford to study.

Who qualifies for a bursary in South Africa?

People with a proven financial need. People with a good past and present academic track record. People with a minimum academic average of 65% in the year they’re applying, ie grade 12 or university level. People with a minimum academic average of 65% for the subjects they’re planning to study at university.

Can foreigners get bursaries in South Africa?

Apart from scholarships and bursaries for South Africans, there are also bursaries available for foreigners who wish to study in a South African university.

What does the Nedbank Bursary Cover?

The Nedbank bursary covers full-time tuition; prescribed textbooks; accommodation; meals; and a monthly stipend to cover the cost of out-of-pocket expenses.

What does Sasol bursary cover?

The Sasol bursary covers 100% of the university tuition fees, registration fees, and exam fees. The average rate for accommodation costs, three meals per day allowance, and an amount of around R12 000,00 per year for book and personal allowance.

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  1. Goodmorning am i student at boland colleges they contact me to say my name was spel incorrect at the allowance


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