The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is the biggest government-funded entity used to administer financial aid to struggling students.
In an effort to establish equality in the education sector government has pledged to support underprivileged or disadvantaged students through various financial aid schemes. Government also offers sector specific bursaries directly through its Departments.
Some private organisations and individuals have joined government's efforts to provide funding to students who are unable to finance their own studies. This gives disadvantaged students a variety of sources for funding.
Repayment options for general bursaries are flexible and academic requirements are not as stringent as scholarships, however the demand for this type of bursary is high. Students will be expected to provide a range of personal details and documents in order to qualify. Things like an identity document, proof of residence and parent pay slips are some examples of the documents applicants will be asked to provide.
Benefactors may request a motivational letter, in which students must explain why they should be selected to receive the bursary. Only those who submit their application within the stipulated time frame will be be considered for selection.
Beneficiaries may be expected to pass all their modules or maintain a certain average. Bear in mind that the bursary will be revoked if you do not manage to meet the requirements and you will then be obligated to pay back the money. This is not a contract that should be entered into lightly and will require hard work and dedication on the part of the student.
While the process of obtaining a bursary can be difficult and drawn out, it can greatly reduce the stress of high tuition fees and make a tertiary education possible.
For more details visit the NSFAS website at www.nsfas.org.za