Let’s talk bursaries and study loans!
So, you’ve dreamed of the moment you can finish school and start a long and successful career in the sound industry. You’re ready to enter the doors of Cape Audio College with your dream and walk out as a professional sound engineer, changing the spectrum of the South African sound industry, but then the questions arise, how will I pay for my studies?
According to ‘The Conversation, 26 Jan 2017’, Government has been trying to address the demands of tertiary education students since 2015 and are currently treating each demand as distinct from the other with the biggest issue being financing. Due to the economic climate of South Africa, high unemployment rate and general poverty throughout the country, getting the opportunity to study for the career of your dreams is becoming increasingly difficult. Another problem facing the youth of South Africa is a misunderstanding of bursaries, scholarships and student loans.
The old saying goes, “there is no such thing as a free lunch” and this is especially relevant when it comes to bursaries or scholarships. Most bursaries and scholarships require specific marks, subjects and fields of interest. In many cases, the institutions that offer bursaries also require students to work for them for a number of years. One of South Africa’s most popular funding schemes is called The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). They are well known for providing funding for students who are interested in studying at a public university or a TVET college. Unfortunately, NSFAS does not generally fund any students interested in studying at a private institution.
Some universities or colleges also offer University Financial Aid. Institutions like CPUT, DUT, MUT and NWU etc. offer internal bursaries to a select number of students based on specific merits such as academic achievement, current financial state etc. When it comes to private institution funding, things become a little more difficult as there are limited options, but don’t lose hope just yet!
EduConnect.co.za is an online portal for educational funding options. They have a search engine with different bursary options and opportunities. By browsing this website, you will find several funding options and bursaries of which you probably have not heard before! Then there is the option of student loans of course. FUNDI offer prospective students tailored financial and education solutions. They require a permanently employed ‘sponsor’ to apply on behalf of a student as security for the loan. FUNDI then pay for the tuition of the student and charges the sponsor an interest rate based on their financial credit profile. You also stand a much higher chance of getting a student loan through FUNDI than most banks.
So, what to do if you would like to apply for either a student loan or a bursary?
- Start applying as soon as possible! Most scholars apply for student loans and bursaries very late in the year when everyone else is applying. The later you apply, the less your chances of being granted a student loan or bursary.
- Academic achievements are important. In most cases, bursaries and scholarships are awarded based on a combination of academic achievements (marks) and subject choices. Making sure that you have chosen the right subjects in grade 10 and constantly keeping your marks high will definitely contribute to a possible bursary or scholarship.
- Most bursaries and scholarships are awarded to those who can effectively explain why they are required and how they will be used. Start building on a number of reasons why you would be a perfect candidate for a bursary or scholarship.
- Start saving! Full bursaries and scholarships are very scarce and most people simply assume that they will be able to get a bursary. Unfortunately, in many cases, students or sponsors need to either pay registration fees or portions of their study fees despite receiving a bursary. In the case of a student loan, there will be several financial implications for the sponsor. There are also many other expenses to consider including accommodation, travel, food and general spending money during studies. It is therefore important to start saving up for your studies so that you can be in the position to confidently apply at the institution of your dreams.
- Work hard! “Good things come to those who wait, great things come to those who work hard”. Once you’ve finally been granted the bursary or scholarship of your dreams, you should work really hard to achieve the goals that you set out for. Many students would do anything to be in your position, so use the chance that you’ve been given to make a success.
Now is your time to start working on your own future. You are in charge of your own success and you will only have yourself to blame if you don’t do everything in your power to get the funding for your tertiary studies. Why wait? Start applying today!