Start looking for ways to pay for your studies

2012-01-19 00:00

MANY students who feel discouraged because they have no money to study should look for bursaries. The key to finding bursaries is to begin the hunt early.

Many corporates offer bursaries to students who are willing to study in the field that is linked to their field of operation. Eskom is willing to invest in those who want to study technical degrees and diplomas, while Sasol is willing to invest in students who are studying chemistry and engineering.

Career advisor Thomas Dugess says: “It is imperative that students get the right kind of career guidance so they know what they are going to study and they work hard to get the right marks. If you know what you want to study then you can approach companies in related fields about bursaries.

“They will be more inclined to award a bursary if you have made an effort to keep in touch, if your marks have been consistently good and if you will be an asset to them. Many bursaries come with a condition that you will work for them after completion of the degree or diploma. This is not a bad thing when you need work experience although the wages may not be competitive.”

Those who don’t qualify should look at student loans. These are offered by banks and other institutions but it is important that you make sure you have a person (usually a relative) who is earning a regular salary who will be able to sign as a surety.

Investigate the best terms and interest rates offered by these institutions as you will have to pay the money back. Usually you will have to pay the main amount back once you have found a job, but the person who signs surety will have to pay off the monthly interest.

Students who did not do well in their matric can always try again. Dugess says it is better to re-write the matric exams and get a better matric mark. “It will be worth it in the long run.”

Most government academic institutions have bursary funds for students who have good results, these funds are administered by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

They have helped many disadvantaged students overcome their money woes and move on to great things.

Yearly they have a road show encouraging rural learners to take advantage of tertiary education opportunities. Their success stories are heart-warming and a testament that no matter how poor you are it is dedication that makes the difference.

• If you need advice about study options contact the NQF and Career Advice Helpline which is run by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The Helpline is on 0860 111 673.

• For more information about NSFAS bursaries contact the Call Centre on 021 763 3232 or SMS your question to 32261. Visit www.nsfas.org.za or e-mail info@nsfas.org.za.

• For a comprehensive list of South African bursaries go to www.gostudy.mobi

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