How will you pay for your studies?

2017-11-17 10:54

Want to study, but you can't afford it? Here is some help, and some common sense.

Get a bursary

Bursaries are money offered to students either by a company or an educational institution for their studies. In exchange for funding your studies, the company will usually require you to repay them by signing a work contract with them.

Another type of bursary is a donor bursary (a bursary awarded to a deserving pupils in a specific field of study or in recognition for their work in a specific field of study).

The normal bursary process is as follows:

  1. Find an institution (bank, trust fund or company) that offers a bursary in the field of your choosing

  2. Apply with all the relevant documentation

  3. You get chosen or not

  4. The institution will then pay for your study fees, living expenses and even an allowance in some cases

  5. All that required is that you study hard, work during your holidays and work in the years that the bursary has covered your studies

The important thing with bursaries is to start applying early. Many bursaries as dependant or your Grade 11 and 12 marks.

Get a student loan: What exactly is a student loan?

A student loan helps students pay for their education and other related fees, such as books and supplies, and living expenses.

How does it work?

A student and a parent/guardian that has any means of income, whether through an occupation or grant, can apply for a student loan. The parent is required to pay the interest portion of the loan on a monthly basis while the student is studying.

The capital (initial amount of the loan) sits in the student’s name, and the student is required to repay the loan through monthly installments after completing their studies. The loan issuer ordinarily allows the student 3-6 months after graduating before they are required to start making repayments.

If the student is not able to pay, then the parent (or whoever else stood surety for the loan) will be have to pay back the loan.

Are there any negatives with study loans?

Some organizations deposit the student loan money straight to your bank account, and you can use it as you please. Students often pay their tuition fees up front with student loan money and when they see that they have money left over, they spend it too fast.

Interest on student loans is not zero! There is a huge amount of interest on student loans.

Get a study loan from NSFAS

NSFAS is the National Student Financial Aid Scheme created by government. NSFAS is the biggest student loan issuer in SA.

For anyone with very little household income, the NSFAS is the best place to turn to fund your studies, as they are willing to work with you even if you don’t have a parent with an income to stand surety for your loan.

Note that the closing date for NSFAS applications are in the next few days.

Get a study loan from a bank

These loans are slightly different from the ones offered from the National Student Financial Scheme. Your parent or guardian (surety) applies on your behalf.

It is compulsory for the surety to have sufficiently high income and sufficiently low debt and a clear credit history in order to get the student loan.

The interest rates are much higher than those offered from NSFAS loans.

What is the difference between banks (and other student loan providers); and NSFAS?

NSFAS is a loan and also a bursary scheme funded by the government. It seeks to assist those that do not have the financial means to fund their studies or do not have any type of access bank funding, bursaries or study loans.

The NSFAS loans are available to South African students who are enrolled in one of the 25 public universities of the country. The National Students Financial Aid Scheme is expected to fund more than 405 000 students in this academic year.

The loan amount is determined on an individual basis, due to the fact that faculties vary and so will the money spent. The interest rate is considerably lower than the interest rates charged by banks.

Is it compulsory to pay back the money?

Yes it is. Loan repayments are needed to help the next generations of students that are also in need of financial support.

But it also depends on your marks. Depending on the quality of your results, up to 40% of NSFAS loans may be converted to bursaries.

Repayments are based on the salary that you earn after you graduate – your repayment only starts once you earn a salary of R30 000 or more per year.

Don't get a loan - work while you study

Working while you study is challenging but is also a great way to be able to afford your studies. The discipline required to study consistently while working, is hard to come by but it’s completely possible.

Study via distance learning

Because you can study from home, while you work, this is the most affordable option. When you register for distance learning, make sure you understand that you are at the same time getting a study loan from the distance learning institution where you are going to study.

So you will also have to pass a creditworthiness check. And repay the full loan and interest.

Pay as you study

I work for Skills Academy. When you study with us, you only pay when you study. So when you take a break from your studies, we also give you a break from your payments.

About the Author:

Jan Badenhorst works as the CEO of Skills Academy. Skills Academy offers Home Study Courses to people who never completed Matric, or who cannot get entry into Universities.

At Skills Academy, if you don't study, you don't pay.


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