Bursaries and scholarships go a long way toward meeting the costs of tertiary education. In some cases, students will be awarded a portion of their fees, and in others, students might receive funding covering tuition, accommodation and even part of their living expenses.

Winning a bursary starts at school. Only the most deserving students – usually with the best all-round school performance and necessary aptitude – can hope to be awarded a bursary.

Bursaries also typically come with strings attached. The student may be required to serve as an ambassador of sorts for the company who awarded the bursary. The student must also maintain good grades during their tertiary studies, and usually, the student must commit to working for the company that sponsored the bursary after graduation. This work commitment can be a perk, since many graduates struggle to find relevant work experience to make themselves more employable.

How to apply

To apply for a bursary, first decide what career path you’d like to follow and research the governing organisations and leading companies in your chosen field. Look online or contact them to find out whether they offer bursaries, and what the qualifying criteria are. In many cases, large organisations partner with specialist bursary administrators to manage their bursary applications.

Make sure you meet those criteria, and gather any supporting information you might need to back your application. Complete application forms very carefully, honestly and in full, and submit them before deadline. If you reach an interview stage, go in prepared to answer questions about your current circumstances, personal strengths, ambitions and career goals.

Did you know?

In careers where a shortage of skills exists – such as engineering, accounting and specialised IT – more bursaries than average are typically available, to encourage more students to enter those professions.

Get more info

For information, application forms and lists of available bursaries, go to:







- AfriSam – bursaries for fields including electrical, mechanical, chemical and mining engineering, as well as geology and computer science, with first preference to previously disadvantaged individuals. Email [email protected] for information.

- Allan Gray – up to 100 fellowship opportunities are awarded annually to promising students aiming to become entrepreneurs, covering tuition, accommodation and a monthly living stipend. See www.allangrayorbis.org for more information.

- Anglo Coal – bursaries and support for engineering, surveying, geology, finance, or environmental science students, including tuition, accommodation, stipends and book and computer allowance. See more at southafrica.angloamerican.com/careers/coal-sa

- Anglo Platinum – bursaries for students at universities and universities of technology in fields including mining, mining engineering, geology, analytical chemistry, mechanical and electrical engineering, accounting and finance. Covers financial needs, medical cover and includes a computer allowance. For information, contact [email protected]

- BBD – bursaries for students studying computer science, software and computer engineering, and informatics. Covers tuition fees, prescribed books, accommodation and meals, and a monthly allowance for food. Go to www.bbd.co.za/careers#x for information.

- CSIR – bursaries for science and engineering students. Covers registration, tuition, accommodation and books and laptop allowance.  Get information at bursary.csir.co.za

- De Beers – bursaries for students studying mining, mining engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, metallurgy and geology. Covers registration, tuition, accommodation, a monthly stipend, and a book and laptop allowance.

- Department of agriculture, forestry & fisheries – bursaries for veterinary science, forestry, agriculture, oceanography and marine biology students. Covers tuition, accommodation, books, meals and monthly allowance, aimed at disadvantaged and impoverished persons. Get information from www.daff.gov.za/

- Department of basic education – The Department’s Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme offers bursaries to eligible students to complete a teaching qualification. Recipients of these bursaries will be required to teach at a public school after graduation. See: www.funzalushaka.doe.gov.za

- Eskom – Full bursaries, merit bursaries and scholarships, particularly in the fields of engineering, research, development, design, construction and production. For more information, go to web.eskom.co.za/student/

- First National Bank – various bursaries provided through the following bursary service providers:

- African Scholars Fund          www.asf.org.za 021 689-9094

- Career Wise www.careerwise.co.za            011 484-7505

- Rural Education Access Programme         www.reap.org.za 021 696-5500

- SAICA Thuthuka Bursary Fund        www.saica.co.za  08610 72422

- South African Actuary Development Programme www.saadp.co.za 011 642-2202

- Study Trust    www.studytrust.org.za           011 726-5604

- Tertiary School in Business Administration www.tsiba.org.za 021 532-2750

- GIBB – bursaries for civil, electrical rail and roads engineering students. Covers tuition, accommodation, books and stationery, and includes vacation employment. For information, go to www.gibb.co.za or mail [email protected]

- Investec – partial bursaries for exceptional students studying financial sector-related degrees. Covers partial funding of tuition. For information, go to www.investec.co.za

- KPMG – bursaries for auditing and chartered accounting students. Apply at home.kpmg.com/za/en/home/careers/bursaries.html

- PWC – bursaries for students studying accounting at any SAICA accredited SA university. It covers a portion of tuition fees, accommodation and books. Get information at www.pwc.co.za/en/students/advisory/bursary-program…

- SAB – bursaries in the chemical and mechanical engineering, biological science and industrial engineering fields. Offers financial support and work experience. For information, go to sab.gradx.net/

- SAPPI – bursaries for forestry, and electrical, chemical and mechanical engineering students. Go to www.sappi.com or mail [email protected] for information.

- Sasol – bursaries for students studying engineering, science and accounting. Covers tuition, registration fees, accommodation and meals, and provides a stipend. See www.sasolbursaries.com for information.

- Shoprite – Shoprite Group bursaries are available to students studying for BPharm, retail management and BCompt/BAcc qualifications. Covers tuition and books, as well as some living expenses.  For information, go to www.shopritebemore.com/opportunities/bursary-oppor…

- Siemens – bursaries and training opportunities in electrical engineering, electronics and business management paths. For information, go to m.siemens.co.za/en/jobs/training

- Sun International – bursaries in the fields of HR, food and beverage fields, hotel management, IT, business management, accounting and more. For information, go to www.studietrust.org.za

- Telkom – full-time bursaries for undergraduate studies in fields including electrical engineering (light current), information technology, computer science, marketing, and accounting. Opportunities are posted on Telkom’s LinkedIn page.

- Transnet – bursaries in the fields of industrial, electrical, electronic, mechanical and civil engineering. The comprehensive bursary covers tuition fees, accommodation and meals, a book allowance and experiential training. For information, go to www.transnet.net/Career/Bursaries.aspx

- Vodacom – bursary opportunities for various study fields. Covers tuition, accommodation, books and a stipend. Applications via careerwise.co.za or digitalclassroom.co.za

Note – this list is not exhaustive. Many more bursary and scholarship opportunities exist across all industry sectors.