CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 6: Students hang o
(Photo by Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images)
  • The academic year had a rough start, with university students protesting over financial exclusion and high education costs.
  • Higher education minister Blade Nzimande announced an additional R7 billion will be added to NSFAS to assist students.
  • There are still private bursaries to be had too. Here are some of them.
  • For more stories go to

After 2020's Covid-19 disruptions, the 2021 academic year got off to a rocky – and late – start, with protests at a number of South Africa’s major tertiary institutions.

Students at Wits university began protesting on Monday over the financial exclusion of those with historical debt. They were later joined by students at other institutions including the University of the Free State, and the University of Cape Town.

On Thursday, higher education minister Blade Nzimande announced an additional R7 billion would be released to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to use towards university study, bringing this years planned total spend to R42 billion.

In the meanwhile, some private bursaries remain available to registered and prospective students. Here are some of them.


The grocery retail chain is offering bursaries for degrees across various fields including accounting, IT, and data science

Academic programmes sponsored:

  • BSc/BCom/Btech (Advance Diploma) majoring in Information Technology/Systems Analysis. (Second, third, fourth year, or honours) 
  • Degree or postgraduate qualification in Data Science
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Operational Research
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Quantitative Management (or similar quantitative degree)
  • CA stream BCom Accounting (second year)

Requirements: Must be a South African citizen, and 27 or younger.

Closing date: 30 April 2021


The vehicle manufacturing company has bursaries for students pursuing full-time study in commerce, engineering, and science.

Academic programmes sponsored:

  • Business Mathematics and Informatics
  • Accounting (Non-CA) – degree must include Accounting, Taxation, Auditing and Management Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechatronics Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Information Technology
  • Business Science Analytics

Requirements: Must be a South African citizen and must have achieved 75% for Mathematics and English or have an overall average above 70% at tertiary level. The grade criteria will be adjusted to a 65% minimum if the tertiary average exceeds 80%. Combined household income must be R750,000 or less per year

Closing date: Applications are open every year between 01 April and 31 August.

Allan Gray

The Allan Gray Fellowship Programme is intended to help "university students prepare for life as a high-impact, responsible entrepreneur".

Academic programmes sponsored:

  • Commerce
  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Law
  • Humanities
  • Arts
  • Health Science, excluding Medicine, Veterinary Science and Dentistry degrees

First years must achieve a minimum of 65% average in their 2021 mid-year exam results and must be younger than 22 and have South African citizenship.

Academic programmes sponsored:

  • Commerce science
  • Engineering
  • Law
  • Humanities
  • Arts
  • Health Science, excluding medicine, veterinary science and dentistry degrees

Requirements: Grade 12 learners must achieve a minimum of 60% in mathematics or obtain a minimum of 80% in mathematical literacy for final grade 11 results. Candidates should have a minimum average of 70% for final Grade 11 results (excluding Life Orientation). Applicants must be under 21 and have South African citizenship or come from a participating country: Swaziland, Botswana, or Namibia.

Closing date: Grade 12; 30 April 2021. First years; 30 October 2021.

Anglo American

The mining company will soon open applications for its bursaries and graduate programme for 2022. It selects to top-performing learners who have an interest in various fields relevant to the mining industry such mining, engineering, process, geosciences, and finance.

Requirements: Be a top performing learner in grade 12 or a student currently studying towards a South African degree or a Bachelor of Engineering Technology qualification. Must show financial need and require practical experience in order to meet the requirements of your mining-related subjects.

Closing date: The Anglo American Graduate Programme for 2022 is due to open soon.


The Investec tertiary bursary is a full bursary offered per year towards study-related expenses.

Academic programmes sponsored:

  • Commerce (Economics, Business Economics, Accounting, Investments and Finance)
  • BCom Informatics, BSc Computer Science
  • BSc Information Technology
  • BIT-Bachelor of Information Technology
  • BIS-Bachelor of Information Science
  • Business Science
  • Science and Mathematics
  • Engineering
  • Commercial LLB

Requirements: Must be a young South African citizen with academic potential and must show financial need. Must pass matric with a minimum of 70% in English and Mathematics (Maths Literacy is not considered) and achieve a 60% pass rate in all other subjects.

Tertiary students – first years only – with Mathematics and Sciences (Life Science or Physical Sciences) credits may also apply.

Closing date: Application run between 01 April and 30 September.


The Clicks Foundation bursary for undergraduate students is merit-based and aimed at addressing scarce and critical skills in the retail and pharmaceutical healthcare industry.

Academic programmes sponsored: Pharmacy and other scarce and critical skills area as defined by Clicks from time to time.

Requirements: For South African citizens registered for their second, third- or fourth-year undergraduate studies. Aged between 19 and 35 years and shouldn’t be in possession of another bursary or subject to a bursary obligation.

Closing date: The bursary application period opens annually on the 1st August and closes on the 31st August.


Sappi offers bursaries to school leavers and university students between the ages of 18 and 25 who are studying or are planning to study full time at any South African accredited university.

Academic programmes sponsored:

  • Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Science - Mechanical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Science - Electrical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Science - Chemical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Science - Industrial Engineering
  • Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Science - Civil Engineering
  • Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Science - Mechatronics
  • Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Science - Forestry and Wood Sciences
  • National Diploma - Pulp and Paper
  • National Diploma in Forestry

Requirements: Must have South African citizenship and score an average of 70% to 80% in Mathematics (not Maths Literacy) 70% to 80% in Physical Science, and 60% in English, and must meet qualifying points for entrance at the university or have acceptance confirmation. Preference will be given to those with an average of 75% and above in Mathematics and Physical Science.

Closing date: Applications for bursaries are open from 01 June to 30 September every year.

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