How Do Student Loans Work In South Africa (2023)

Good education comes with spending good money. As a student in a higher institution, you can’t but spend a lot of money. Tertiary education comes with great expenses. And while there are several options out there to sort out your education, one realistic option is to get and understand how student loans work in South Africa. Fortunately, unlike in some other places in Africa, student loans are readily available in South Africa, as far as you can fulfill the conditions.

How Do Student Loans Work In South Africa

You can only apply for a student loan as a student.

Apply with a parent with an income. It is expected that while you are still serving, your parent will be the one to pay the interest portion of the loan taken.

It should be noted that this interest portion won’t be a one-time thing but on a month-to-month basis.

Then upon graduating as a student, you will now start settling the capital amount of the loan (as this one is in your name), via monthly installments too.

As you can see, the procedure is pretty straightforward. Is a student loan good or bad? Well, it is actually relative. It is good for some people depending on their immediate circumstances. If they encounter some circumstances that have the capacity to prevent them from getting a good education, then funding your studies through a student loan is a good idea for them.

To bring an appropriate balance to this, however, on the other hand too, it is not really a good idea to start life off with debt. But then, if you should find yourself in such situations, you need to realize it is not too bad, as the education you were able to get will help give you an appropriate edge that should be utilized to settle up yourself. 

Important Things To Know About Student Loans In South Africa

There are some things that should be highlighted as far as student loan is concerned. In fact, these things will determine if you really want to get one or not.

  1. You should know that interest on student loans is not actually zero-rated! You know, some people do think that these types of loans bear very little or no interest. This however is not true. In fact, it was established that compared to any other household debt in South Africa,  there is a big amount of interest on student loans in the country. 
  2. For folks who study away from home, their money to pay over a 4-year course will likely be up to R400,000. Hence, it is necessary not to rush at things, but to consider all of their university options. While it is cool to move out of your domain to explore other places while receiving a good education, you should also remember the price of the repayments. However, for students who study while living at home, their bills will be around R200,000 to repay. So, it is necessary to carefully consider stuff like this when getting a loan.
  3. This should be a good side of students loans. Generally, they (the loan issuer) will give you 3-6 months of grace after you have graduated from school before you are required to start making repayments of the loan you received while studying. They want to ensure you are given a fair opportunity to find a job after leaving school.

It should however be noted that if the free pass term expires and you still haven’t started paying the loan, your parent (or anyone who stood surety for the loan) will be made to cover the repayments.

  1. You should also know that the funds from the student loans get deposited straight to the bank account you provided (usually yours). You know, many young folks become something else when they see a big amount of money in their bank account, and they can end up using the money on other things. If you however love yourself, then you should not spend the money on other stuff! 

After settling the necessary things with your student loan, when you see you have something left in your bank account, ensure you don’t waste them on stupid things like splashing at the local bar. Rather, start thinking ahead.

  1. You will need to prepare some crucial things when applying for a student loan. They include: 

– Your bar-coded ID book (or ID card) as well as that of your parent.

– A proof of income of your parent (use their latest payslip)

– Your parent’s proof of address 

– Proof of enrolment at a qualified tertiary institution

As you get to the bank for your loan, you will have to simply give them those things and also fill the necessary forms that will be presented to you. They are simple information about yourself (such as your full name, level, and so on). Please ensure you enter the right details only.


In conclusion, as you state the amount you will want them to give you as a student loan, apply wisdom, and don’t be myopic. With thoughts about the long future, you will be appropriately guided and won’t take steps that will give you a rough start after school.

DISCLAIMER: It should be noted that this article here is just for general informational purposes. It does not deal with individual circumstances. Hence, you are advised to not substitute this for expert advice or help at all. It is necessary to take note of this.

error: Content is protected !!