Government Student Loans in South Africa (2023)

On how to get government student loans South Africa? Having a college degree opens a lot of doors and opportunities that can help one grow wealth and financial stability. However, for some people the costs of a university education can be enormous; they just cannot afford the expenses related to education: tuition fees, accommodation, food; books, and the other things involved.

But because the desire is very high among students and parents to attain a higher height in life, they are willing to do whatever it takes to put their children through school- even taking loans. Yes, government student loans in South Africa have helped some people successfully go through university education, and many who have taken this step have had the extra motivation to ensure that they succeed. No wonder study loans have become so popular.

Ok, so you are probably thinking about getting a loan to fund your studies. In South Africa, there are several options to choose from. So the question is: how can I get a government loan to fund my education?

Government Student Loans in South Africa

The government of South Africa together with the Department of Education, have been involved in student funding for a very long time. The government created the National Student Financial Aid Scheme which provided student loans to South African nationals from the poor and working-class section of the country.

Since December 2017, the scheme has ceased to provide loans but has changed its format to providing bursaries which helps the students more because there is less worry about having to pay back the money received as funding.

Nevertheless, all students who received loans from the NSFAS, before the scheme was changed to a bursary scheme will have to pay off their loans.

NSFAS Funding Scheme

As mentioned above, the NSFAS is a government bursary designed to help people from poor backgrounds to pursue higher education studies. The scheme provides for students who are studying at Public Universities, as well as Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions in South Africa.

The NSFAS scheme also provides for your accommodation, transport (a maximum of 40 km from the institution), food, books, and personal care grants. 

However, this funding is strictly for economically disadvantaged people; the household income must be less than R350 000 per year. If the student has a disability, then the maximum income is capped at R600 000.

 You can apply for the NSFAS Scheme at the website.


Buffalo City Mayoral Bursary 

Buffalo City Mayoral Bursary is an initiative of the Executive of the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality. This is own way of adding to the development of human capital. The bursary scheme provides for students of disadvantaged backgrounds. The Bursary Fund is intended to provide funding for students who wish to study at a South African Tertiary Institution, preferably in the Eastern Cape. This bursary scheme is available for those studying at a University or at a TVET College. 

The bursary will cover the cost of current or prospective students, for their tuition and registration fees, prescribed books, and of course accommodation. Successful applicants are expected to study at any accredited base.

Who Can Apply?

First of all, the applicants must be bona fide residents of Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality. Having surpassed that first requirement, applicants must also be:

Applicants must also be South African citizens, permanently residing in Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality. Applicants will have to provide proof of residence when applying for the bursary.

Applicants will need to prove that they are in need of financial assistance; they can prove this through evidence of the income of their family household. 

Applicants must be willing to work within Buffalo City after completing their studies, as a way of repaying that loan.

For more information use the following information.


Phone contact: 043 705 1013


City of Cape Town Financial Support

The city of Cape Town offers financial support to students who are currently studying, or on the verge of studying. This scheme is limited; it is only limited to a number of applicants each year. The City of Cape Town offers up to 45 external bursaries, and applicants must be studying skills that are considered. 

The skills that we consider scarce are those which not many people have; engineering, or science. This bursary scheme is for those studying full-time, and only covers registration; tuition; examination fees;    recommended books; and accommodation and/or transport (where a proven need exists).

A further benefit of this bursary is that while you are studying, the relevant department at the City will give you practical training in your course of study. That will give you an added edge over other people in your department. The city will also appoint someone to mentor you, and that person will usually be from the department funding your studies.

This bursary is only open to residents of South Africa.

 You must also be finishing high school, or in your first, second, or third year of university study in the fields which the city deems scarce.

 This bursary is only open for those studying full-time undergraduate or postgraduate degrees, as well as those studying for diplomas at approved tertiary institutions.

Phone Contact:  021 400 3434


The Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme

The Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme is a government bursary program that is geared towards providing opportunities for students who want to study to become teachers within the public school system in South Africa. The scheme, therefore, promotes teaching in public schools, thus raising the standard of education.

This bursary scheme covers the full costs of university, tertiary education for eligible students to complete a full teaching qualification. Students who are studying to read certain subjects which are considered to be scarce will be given a higher priority.

The bursary will cover the cost of registration, tuition, accommodation, books, and other expenses.

Recipients of these bursaries will be required to teach at a public school for at least the same number of years that they receive the money from the bursary scheme. Special consideration may be given to those who wish to build a career in teaching. 

For more information please visit:




Rather than give out loans to students, the South African government has actually done better than expected by providing bursary schemes at the Federal and Municipal levels. However, some of these schemes require you to work for the government for at least a specified number of years. Since you will also be paid a salary when you work it cannot be considered a government student loan in South Africa, but an obligation to use your skills and knowledge for the good of the people and the government.