Bursaries That Fund Private Colleges (2024)

Private universities in South Africa are some of the best in the world. A lot of them offer their students great education and good job prospects after graduation. But they can also be very expensive, especially if you’re not from a wealthy family.

For students who want to study at a private university but can’t afford it, there are many bursaries available that fund your studies at private institutions across the country.

Bursaries That Fund Private Colleges

1. National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)

`NSFAS bursaries’ are available to students who meet specific criteria. The application process is online and opens in July each year. Students must apply for an NSFAS bursary before they can register for the university’s academic year, which usually begins around February or March of that year.

An NSFAS bursary is awarded based on financial need, academic merit, and other factors such as disability status, race or ethnicity, gender identity and socioeconomic background. While there are separate funds within the scheme that target students from particular groups (for example: women’s education), most funds within the scheme do not have prerequisites regarding what your background should be before you can apply for them — so long as you meet all other requirements for receiving one of their grants (such as being South African; living at home with family members; having completed high school).

2. Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Scholarship Programme

The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Scholarship Programme is open to students who are studying towards an undergraduate degree. It’s also open to students who are studying towards a postgraduate degree, doctorate degree or postgraduate certificate.

Academic excellence is one of the selection criteria; candidates must have good academic records and be able to demonstrate that they will make valuable contributions to society through their future careers.

3. The Ola Boucher Trust

The Ola Boucher Trust was established in 2004. The trust is funded by the Boucher Foundation and the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, and it was set up to provide bursaries and scholarships to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. It offers bursary funding for South African citizens or permanent residents who are in need of financial assistance while pursuing tertiary education at any private college or university. To qualify for a bursary through this fund, applicants must:

  • have been accepted into an accredited program at a private college or university;
  • be studying full time on campus (not distance learning);
  • be under 30 years old;
  • come from a disadvantaged background;

In addition to meeting these criteria, you also need to submit proof that you don’t have sufficient funds available for your tuition fees and living expenses throughout your studies (such as bank statements).

4. The Inyathelo Bursary Fund

The Inyathelo Bursary Fund is a private fund that awards bursaries to students from disadvantaged communities. The fund is administered by the Inyathelo Foundation and funded through donations, sponsorships and fundraising events.

It provides assistance in the form of tuition fees, books, transport and accommodation to students who are unable to afford tertiary education without financial assistance.

5. Unilever Development Fund

The Unilever Development Fund is a scholarship fund for students from disadvantaged backgrounds who wish to study at a South African private university. The fund provides financial assistance to final year undergraduate or honours degree students who require funding in order to complete their studies. Students must have achieved an average of 50% or above throughout their academic career, and demonstrate commitment towards their chosen field of study by completing community service work as well as other activities related to their field of study.

6. WDB Education Trust

The WDB Education Trust is a non-profit organisation that provides bursaries for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, rural areas and underprivileged families. The trust has a goal of supporting pupils to gain access to high quality education and achieve greater social mobility.

The trust provides an annual scholarship award of R50 000 per annum at the end of each year to students in need who are pursuing tertiary studies at one of its partnered private colleges or universities.

7. There are bursaries available for South African private universities.

There are bursaries available to help students with the cost of studying at a private university. The South African government offers bursary schemes that pay for tuition fees and other expenses such as accommodation, books and transport. These include:

  • The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)
  • The Study Now Pay Later Bursary Scheme (SNLBS)
  • The Private Higher Education Loan Programme (PHELP).



The private education sector is an important part of the South African economy. Education is the key to a more prosperous future, and these bursaries can help facilitate that growth by supporting students who want to study at private institutions but may not have enough money for tuition fees and living expenses.

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