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How do I finance my studies?

Liezl Hesketh in Tips 

Student source of incomeThe first quarter of the year is almost gone and graduations are currently trending on Social Media. Tertiary faculties are certifying the future leaders of South Africa and students are filling the halls in graduation regalia – beaming with pride and looking forward to entering the workplace in full force. However, some are not as fortunate and somewhere a student cries who could not experience the joy of graduation due to a lack of funds to finance his tertiary studies.

The late former statesman, Nelson Mandela, once said that ‘Education is an important tool which you can use to change the world’. But, what if you can’t afford it? According to an undergraduate qualification can set you back R20 000 or more each year, and this doesn’t cover other expenses such as accommodation, transport and books. However, students should not be discouraged from studying as there are options available to help ease the burden. So, let’s look at the question: How do I finance my studies?

Financial Options for cash-strapped Students

Private student loans – Most South African banks and NCR-recognised private lenders assist students at both government and private tertiary institutions with student loans. Each student loan covers specific tertiary needs and it is very important that students find out more by either contacting the relevant party or visiting their websites before applying. It is peak student loan season during January and June which means that student loan consultants at these institutions are more visible and helpful.

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financial options for the cash strapped student

University financial aid –  These types of aids are awarded based on academic or sports excellence and only when an already registered student has proven him or herself worthy of the aid. The criteria and closing dates differ from one university to another and registrar offices situated on campus are usually the main point of contact for more information.

Bursaries – Both the private and public sectors have added to the success of career-driven people by providing students and young professionals with  bursaries. These bursaries are awarded as per the company’s internal talent development policies, with an emphasis on academic excellence. Some organisations address certain skill shortages by providing bursaries in specific fields such as teaching, medicine, engineering, etc. Available bursaries are widely advertised on respective company websites, job portals and other media.

IMG_3883NSFAS – The National Student Financial Aid Scheme is a well-known student loan initiative that covers tuition fees, accommodation, food, books and travel costs for students. Terms and conditions and application criteria are listed on the NSFAS website.

The student finance options mentioned above are some of the most popular available, but there are other alternatives such as scholarships and private funding through family. Securing financing for studies brings peace of mind and the freedom to find  affordable and safe student accommodation in either a student residence or private accommodation.