Home FAQS What Are The Requirements To Apply For A Bursary?

What Are The Requirements To Apply For A Bursary?

Bursaries are great options for students needing financial assistance to afford their education. Every bursary contract has certain criteria that prospective students need to meet to apply and qualify for a bursary from a tertiary institution.

A bursary programme is a form of financial aid that is used to pay for your education. A bursary is not the same as a loan as the money you receive from a bursary does not need to be paid back. A bursary is typically awarded to students who excel academically or at a particular sport or cultural activity.


There are several different types of bursaries and some may cover part of your tuition fees, or you may receive a full bursary. Many different organisations offer bursary programmes. You can apply for a bursary from an education provider, an organisation or company, an employer and even the government. It is important to remember that a bursary is different to a scholarship.

There are also different bursaries available for different fields of study such as performing arts, computer science, mathematics, electrical engineering and health sciences, among many others.


What Are The Requirements To Apply For A Bursary?

A bursary is a way of providing financial assistance for those who need it the most. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements. Requirements can include elements like location, age, or academic achievement. If you are thinking of applying for a bursary, make sure that you meet all the necessary requirements before you submit your application form.

In your bursary application form, you will be required to prove that you meet all the requirements by submitting a certified copy of the necessary documents, like income statements and proof of residence or citizenship to be eligible for the bursary.

Subject Selection

There are general bursaries and there are ‘career specific’ bursaries available to students.


General bursaries are typically funded by the government and are awarded to individuals regardless of their subject choice.

Career-specific bursaries will only allow students who are pursuing a higher education in a particular field or profession to qualify for funding. For example, an accounting firm may offer bursaries for students pursuing a qualification in the accounting field. An organisation may even offer you employment following the completion of your studies as a way to pay them back.


It is common for the benefactor to place requirements on the applicant’s nationality or current residential address.

In other words students may be required to live in a certain area or possess citizenship in a certain country before they can apply for an opportunity. Many of the bursary programmes in South Africa will require the applicant to be a South African citizen or permanent resident.


The average age for eligible student is between 18 and 25, however every bursary contract is different.

In unique cases benefactors may even overlook the age limit if the academic achievement or financial need is great.

Race/Financial Need

While bursaries can be awarded for excellence, many bursaries aim to redress past injustices by providing financial aid to needy scholars from previously disadvantaged groups..

For this reason benefactors may limit access to a bursary opportunity by only accepting applicants from a specific race or economic background.

There is often also a requirement for household income. Bursary programmes may require that you have proven financial need and that your household income is less than a specified amount per annum.

Academic Achievement

Applicants may be required to achieve a minimum percentage in a subject to be considered for funding and for the sponsor to continue paying the tuition fees.

A strong academic history is usually important, but depends on the subject or field of study.

In addition, selected applicants will be expected to maintain the percentage during the period of study and could risk losing their bursary if they fail to meet the requirements.

University Acceptance

Some sponsors only accept applications from students who have received university admission. You may be required to study at a South African public university and other bursaries may only offer financial aid for you to pursue an undergraduate degree, and if you chose to pursue a postgraduate degree, you would need to fund it yourself.

As demonstrated above there are some requirements that may be out of your control like race or location but there are others, such as academic achievement, that are well within your sphere of influence. It is wise to look for a bursary programme that suits your needs and field of study.

Find out what is required and do what you can to improve your chances wherever possible.

You can find out more about the available bursaries in South Africa by visiting our Bursaries Section, or visiting the Bursaries Portal.



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