Tag Archives: grants

Student loan debt reaches $1.5 billion and climbing

Current student loan financed by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for tertiary education at the moment stands at R13.4 billion (US$1.5 billion) in delinquent loans it has been revealed by South Africa’s Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande. Somewhere around 20% of students who took out loans are yet to pay a single cent towards their debt repayment packages.

The Minister has stated that recovering the capital sum is a priority of the education department and has encouraged the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to get involved and  garnish money from defaulters’ salaries.

NSFAS has publicly stated that it is lacking the relevant skills to recoup loans and that the scheme is not proficient at recovering debt. NSFAS has told parliament that only 5% (R638 million) of the total long-term debts has been recovered as at the end of 2011 which stood at R12.2 billion.

In spite of the delinquency rate of students loans, Nzimande has applauded the NSFAS scheme as “a feather in the government’s cap”. In 2012, R5 billion in students loans was granted and that since the scheme’s inception in 1999 more than R19 billion has been disbursed.


Student financial aid 1


Background of Student Loans

Higher education in the country has demonstrated and plays a crucial role in boosting the economy and contributed towards developing a wealthier society by producing highly skilled graduates.

The intention of government is to boost the annual university enrollment from 900,000 to 1.5 million by 2030 and realize their objective of a 23% higher education participation rate.

In January of 2012, a Green Paper was published setting out the goals and objectives of government pertaining to post-school education and training, with a target of generating  4 million students by way of colleges and other post-school institutions.

Currently, the country has a 16% participation rate of adults aged between 18 and 24 in comparison with a global average of 30%.

To be able to open access to  higher education and increase the number of students, it is vital that a student loan and bursary scheme remain in existence and promoted. In 1994 there were merely 495,000 students annually registered for university education. In 2012, this number stood at 900,000.

The current loan and bursary scheme has a stated objective to provide a sustainable educational funding system for student loans and bursaries and making it possible for academically deserving and financially needy students to realize their potential. The goal is to “make a difference in our land” – a key goal for a deeply unequal society.

The principal way whereby poorer students can obtain access to higher education is via the nation’s grants and loan scheme. Based on reports from the NSFAS, students loans and granted supported something like 32% of all university students in 2011.


Student financial aid 2


Access to and repayment of student loans

Based on Absa’s head of transitional banking,  Harriet Heymans, the bank estimates that a further 25% of students make application via other commercial institutions to obtain student loans to finance their studies.

In the USA there are reports and statistics proclaiming that the current student debt exceeds $1 trillion and that it takes somewhere around 10 years for individuals to repay their students loans after entering the work force. There are concerns that South Africa may very well be heading in the same direction.

As opposed to the USA, South African banks are well regulated and force lenders to comply with the National Credit Act and Consumer Protection Act. It is precisely these acts and laws that will prevent the country from entering an education loan crisis.

The National Credit Act and Consumer Protection Act assists to protect and support students. Making sure that loans are repaid within a specific time frame, all student education loans are registered in the names of the students parents  or in the case of part-time workers the student themselves.

Ensuring that students loans are repaid has additionally been backed up by Wits University Vice-chancellor Loyiso Nongxa who has expressed that it is crucial  that loans are repaid and that the non payment of loans goes beyond a mere resistance to honoring the debt.

Beside the undeniable fact that there currently exists a high level of graduate unemployment; there also exist the issue where students who are granted loans however do not graduate and find it difficult to seek out employment and repay their debts.

Even if a student drops out of college or university they are still liable and accountable for their debt. South African Students Congress claims that this figure is roughly a third of all students who have received loans.

According to NSFAS student loan terms and conditions, it specifically states that students who receive loans have a primary responsibility “to repay the confidence shown by studying hard, graduating and [entering] the workplace”. Thereafter, the loan has to be repaid.

In spite of this, currently students are only obliged to repay their debt once they have found employment and their salaries exceed R30,000 annually. Once this threshold has been achieved students are obliged to pay 3% of their annual salary increasing to a maximum of 8% upon attaining a salary of R59,300.

Nzimande is also committed to retaining the current policy whereby hard studying reduces the loan element, converting up to 40% of the borrowings into a non-repayable bursary which is dependent on the year-end academic results. The NSFAS annual report shows that at the present time this loan-to-bursary conversion translates into 15% of the current total student loan debt.

As reported by Business Day the country spends far too little on tertiary education. Current spending indicates that the current budget of R31 billion or 13% of the total education budget. The student loan system is trying to resolve two contradictory tendencies by, in essence, hoping to get more individuals into university while at the same time trying to maintain a constrained budget.

“The problem is complicated by a high dropout rate, which renders some of the spending ineffective,” – Business Day.


Education savings


Resolving the problem

Finding a solution to the students loans and grants issue is no simple task. The NSFAS is unable to say with 100% confidence whether or not the capital on student grants and loans will be repaid. There is a trend whereby students begin repaying their loans however in time become untraceable or end up in informal employment. The same holds true for those students who fall below the earnings threshold.

Furthermore, there is doubt whether or not debts will be repaid considering that that this depends on the reality that when students exit the tertiary will they find employment and what will their annual earning be. Also, will the scheme have the ability to monitor and keep track of students who are granted bursaries and loans; not forgetting the effect of inflation which also impacts the student loan. A loan of R10,000 currently does not translate into the same buying power for that capital three years hence. Add to that equation the reality that the scheme charges an interest rate equivalent to 80% of the repurchase rate, presenting a considerable discount to commercial interest rates.

Career Wise MD Monique Adams has stated that she is also wary of the loan problem and believes that there is an ever increasing debt problem in South Africa with more and more students taking out loans.

“The problem will not go away, but will increase as more students take out loans,” she concluded.


Teaching bursary to promote maths and science



The recruitment and training of teachers in the vital subjects of maths and science is set to receive a significant boost as a result of a venture established by the Department of Basic Education in a joint venture with the Independent Schools Association of South Africa (ISASA) and Investec.

By way of this collaboration, the department has created and adopted the “Teacher Assist Approach” programme, which it will implement when recruiting and placing new teachers in vital  subjects that include Mathematics, Science and English.

The department, ISASA and Investec unveiled this historic public-private partnership with the aim of training 200 teacher interns in the priority subjects. The teachers are going to be trained at independent schools bertween 2013 and 2020.

The programme will employ the combined resources to develop quality teachers in Maths, Science and English. The department will provide for the total study and subsistence costs of the teachers for the period of their training via the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme.

ISASA schools will host, train and mentor the interns. The group will in addition manage the programme which will involve recruiting, selecting and placing prospective teachers, as well as supporting them throughout the period of their internship, which will take between 3 and 4 years.

Investec is expanding it’s support at school level and is extending its focus to the vital need to develop high quality teachers in the key subjects of maths and science. Its function will in addition see them make available capital for enrichment activities for instance the orientation of the new recruits, academic support along with hosting of mentoring meetings.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga mentioned, in line with the education strategy – Action Plan to 2014: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025, the department was in fact making an effort to boost the supply of young and qualified educators, especially for gateway subjects.



Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga


“The Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme is one way of [achieving this], hence our support for this initiative. This will help us in placing the just over 2 000 new graduates Funza Lushaka has produced over the last three years and in tackling current teacher shortages,” Motshekga said.

The day-to-day support of the recruits is going to be made available from the ISASA, which includes the ongoing evaluation of the recruits, to make certain that individuals who need additional support are actually identified and assisted appropriately. ISASA will be managing every aspect of the teachers’ development, utilizing the help and support of the department and Investec. It is anticipated that the training model could be the catalyst towards grooming the next generation of teachers.

The primary objectives and goals of the programme is to develop confident, competent teachers, along with a robust dedication to Maths and Science teaching as their lifelong profession. Undoubtedly, the multiplier effect associated with skillful teachers within these priority subjects is truly a major contribution to the teaching profession.

Suitable applicants are school-leavers with university entrance passes in addition to superior results in Maths, Science or English. Individuals with university credits or degrees in these subjects will also be among those benefiting from hte bursaries to study towards a teaching degree.

Investec representative Setlogane Manchidi encouraged interns to carry out some research, stating that ” he who doesn’t research, has nothing to teach. “Whatever you teach our children and allow them to discover about themselves will be the foundation upon their future,” Manchidi told the interns.

Transnet Foundation Senior Manager: Education, Theresa Vivian Moila acknowledged the reality that the teaching profession was in fact undervalued, however, it is not all “doom and gloom” and challenged the interns to revive and restore the excellence within the teaching profession.

“Be at the frontline to give learners requisition knowledge. You have to open doors of opportunities for learners and restore the love of learning. Become the village that raises children. Go out and conquer the world and touch the lives of learners and communities in a positive way,” said Moila.

Nomthandazo Dube from Tembisa, who feels that she was born a teacher, signed up with the programme  to acquire practical experience. “I want to find my feet first before going out to teach. My goal is to further my studies and do Education Psychology because it gives you the tools you need as an educator to understand the learner behaviour and how to respond in different situations.

Applicants for 2014, especially graduates wishing to access bursaries, can get application forms by contacting ISASA on 011 648 1331.

Source: SAnews.gov.za


South African Institutions and Companies offering Bursaries 3

The reality is that there is very little financial aid available from international and local sources for students in South Africa. International scholarships, grants, and loans for local studies is very hard to secure. The great majority of students seeking financial assistance need to search for  financial assistance from local government, or from local businesses, organizations, and foundations. Students should take take note that scholarships or aid from international sources may only be available to graduate students, students from a specific ethnic group, or students who have chosen a specific course of study. Financial aid and scholarships from these organizations are very competitive, so you need to start your search early.

Even though funding for local studies from international sources is difficult, listed below are few organization that do offer financial aid.

Eduloan – http://www.eduloan.co.za/

Oxford University (post graduate) – http://www.ox.ac.uk/feesandfunding/search/

Harvard Graduate School of Education – http://www.gse.harvard.edu/admissions/financial_aid/international/funding.html

HCI Foundation (various) – http://www.hcifoundation.co.za/bursary/

Africa Foundation – http://africafoundation.org/projects/education

CSIR (science) – http://www.csir.co.za/recruitment/csirburse.php

South Africa Geomatics Institute (Geomatics, Surveying, Cartography) – http://www.sagi.co.za/bursaries.php

Medical Research Council of South Africa (medical) – http://www.mrc.ac.za/funding/funding.htm

The Bursary Institute of South Africa – http://www.tbisa.co.za/

SAFCOL and Komatiland Forests (various) – http://www.safcol.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=72&Itemid=25

Merseta (engineering) – http://www.mersetabursaries.co.za/

Harmony (mining industry) – http://www.harmony.co.za/job-seekers/bursaries

Monash University (various) – http://www.monash.ac.za/study/scholarships-bursaries/monash-south-africa-bursary.html

AngloAmerican – http://www.angloamerican.com/careers/graduates

National Research Foundation (Bursaries, scholarships and fellowships) – http://www.nrf.ac.za/students.php

Sasol (engineering, science, commerce)- http://www.sasolbursaries.com/sasol_internet/frontend/bursary/bsr_index.jsp

South African Breweries Ltd – http://www.sab.co.za/sablimited/content/en/sab-bursars

Masakhi’ iSizwe Centre of Excellence (Transport, Engineering and the Built Environment) – http://www.westerncape.gov.za/eng/directories/services/27438/141473#whichbursary

Career Wise (various) – http://www.careerwise.co.za

Zawadi Africa Education Fund – http://zawadiafrica.org/wp/

The Funza Lushaka Bursary (teaching) – http://www.funzalushaka.doe.gov.za/


NOTE: My Dream Course does not offer any bursaries.  Please direct all inquiries to the individual organization and companies listed above. We encourage you  to follow and adhere to their deadlines for applications.


South African Institutions and Companies offering Bursaries Part 2

Colleges and universities, and many technical schools, have substantial lists of scholarships and bursaries, as do many private sponsors, companies and corporations.

In continuation with our previous article , South African Institutions and Companies offering Bursaries Part 1, we have expanded our list of organisations and companies offering bursaries, grants, financial aid and financial assistance to students and prospective students. Remember to direct all inquiries to the organisation in question. We encourage you  to follow and adhere to their deadlines for applications.


Volkswagen Group South Africa (Engineering) – http://www.vw.co.za/en/volkswagen_groupsouthafrica/careers/volkswagen_traineeprogrammes.html

Royal HaskoningDHV (Engineering) – http://www.rhdhv.co.za/pages/people-prospects/development.php

Altech (Information Technology) – http://www.altechacademy.co.za/bursary-information

Absa (Financial Services) – http://www.absa.co.za/Absacoza/About-Absa/Careers/Bursaries

Investec (Financial Services) – http://www.investec.co.za/about-investec/sustainability/people/people-south-africa/education-as-a-focus-area/tertiary-level/bursary.html

College of Cape Town (various) – http://www.cct.edu.za/content.asp?TopLinkID=12&PageID=21

Cape Peninsula University of Technology (various) – http://www.cput.ac.za/bursaries-and-scholarships

Sasol (Engineering, Science, Commerce) – http://www.sasolbursaries.com/sasol_internet/frontend/bursary/bsr_index.jsp?index=1&articleid=1

Gold Fields Business and Leadership Academy (Mining) – http://www.goldfields.co.za/careers_bursaries.php

Studietrust Bursary Organisation – (various) – http://www.studytrust.org.za/

Exxaro (various) – http://www.exxaro.bursary.drm-za.com/

PricewaterhouseCoopers (Science, Commerce, Information Technology) – http://www.pwc.co.za/en/students/advisory/bursary-programme.jhtml


NOTE: My Dream Course does not offer any bursaries.  Please direct all inquiries to the individual organization and companies listed above. We encourage you  to follow and adhere to their deadlines for applications.



South African Institutions and Companies offering Bursaries Part 1


A bursary is financial aid made available to a student to further their education and training. These are typically granted on academic merit and/or financial need. A considerable number of companies offer bursaries to academically promising students.

Bear in mind that bursaries  can vary significantly in their selection criteria, in addition to what they cover. A number of bursaries are extremely comprehensive and take care of tuition fees, accommodation costs, prescribed books and travel costs, while some may offer a comparatively small financial contribution towards your studies.

With some bursaries you may well be required to work for the company providing you with this opportunity as soon as you complete your studies in an effort to pay back the bursary.

Listed below are institutions and companies offering bursary opportunities which are relevant to your career choice and will also be continuously updated. For anyone who is aware or knows of any bursaries available , please make sure to send us the details so that we can include it in the list.

South African Government

National Student Financial Aid Scheme of South Africa – NSFAS provides a sustainable financial aid system for study loans and bursaries, allowing academically deserving and financially needy students to realise their potential and hopes for the future – http://www.nsfas.org.za/

Institutions and companies

Boston City Campus & Business College (various) –  http://www.boston.co.za/index.php/news/boston-city-campus-and-business-college-bursaries/

Liberty (Actuarial Science) –  http://www.libertyholdings.co.za/careers/young-talent-at-liberty/Pages/actuarial-bursary-programme.aspx

Transnet (Engineering)- http://www.transnet.net/Career/Bursaries.aspx

Vodacom (Information Technology, Information Systems, Computer Science,Electrical or Electronic Engineering (LC only), Computer Engineering – http://www.vodacom.co.za/personal/main/careers/bursaries

Old Mutual  (Accounting) – http://www.oldmutual.co.za/about-us/careers-centre/learners-and-school-leavers/accounting-bursaries.aspx

Old Mutual (Actuarial) – http://www.oldmutual.co.za/about-us/careers-centre/learners-and-school-leavers/actuarial-bursaries.aspx

SACTWU (Members and dependents) – www.sactwu.org.za/bursary

Auditor-General of South Africa (Chartered Accountant) – http://www.agsa.co.za/Careers/Bursaries.aspx

MIntek (Human Resources)- http://www.mintek.co.za/category/bursaries/

Metropolitan (Actuarial Science) – http://www.metropolitan.co.za/index.php/metropolitan-holder/careers/careers-and-bursaries.html

WITS Watson Edwards Bursary (Engineering: Mechanical, Electrical) – http://www.eie.wits.ac.za/bursary/watson-edwards-bursary

SAWISE (Chemistry, Physics, Metallurgy or Mechanical Engineering ) – http://web.uct.ac.za/org/sawise/scholarships.htm

Samancor (Metallurgy) – http://www.samancorcr.com/content.asp?subID=18

Clicks Pharmacy (Pharmacy) – http://www.clickspha.co.za/C_Bursaries.asp

Murray & Roberts (Engineering, Quantity Surveying and Building/Construction Management) – http://www.murrob.com/careers_bursaries.asp

Legalwise (Law) – http://www.legalwise.co.za/index.php/investing-in-people/bursary-application-form.html

South African Actuaries Development Programme (Actuarial Science) – http://www.saadp.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=13&Itemid=11

BDO South Africa (Accounting) – http://www.bdo.co.za/careers/bursaries.asp

Anglo American Platinum Limited (Platinum and mining industry) – http://www.angloplatinum.com/careers/careers_sub/bursaries.asp

Kumba Iron Ore (Mining) – http://www.kumba.co.za/careers_bursaries.php

South African Weather Service (Weather Observers, Meteorological Studies , Environmental Sciences, Technology Studies) – http://www.weathersa.co.za/web/Content.asp?contentID=197

Coronation Fund Managers (Accounting, Economics, Finance, Investment Management and Statistics) – http://www.coronation.com/doc-1-sc-2-6279/dc-2-7212


NOTE: My Dream Course does not offer any bursaries.  Please direct all inquiries to the individual organization and companies listed above. We encourage you  to follow and adhere to their deadlines for applications.