A bursary is a grant or financial assistance given to a student for study in a specific field. Bursaries may differ in the amounts of money and duration period.
Financial assistance in the form of a bursary is given to students selected according to various criteria set by donors.
Bursaries are granted on the basis of financial need and academic merit. Sometimes they carry conditions of employment.
Most bursaries are offered directly by private companies to students, and all applications are handled directly by these companies.
If you apply for financial aid at this university, and you meet the criteria for a bursary offered through Walter Sisulu University, you will be shortlisted for this bursary, and either the university or the bursary funder will make the final decision on your eligibility.
For more information on bursaries offered to students at WSU, you can contact the Bursary Officers at the Mthatha and Butterworth campuses.
There are many resources for students on the internet to look for bursaries that are available.
Each of these bursaries has different closing dates, but the best advice is to find out and apply as early as possible.
It is your responsibility as the student to research the available bursaries, make sure you meet the criteria, and apply for these bursaries.
The Bursaries Officers at the university can certainly assist you with this process, but it is your responsibility to apply for the bursaries that best match your requirements.
WSU’s Financial Aid Bureau administers bursaries and loans from various government departments, the private sector and international donors. Contact the numbers below for further details.
A loan is a sum of money lent to a student for the purpose of study, usually from a private commercial bank or financial services provider.
A loan is usually repayable on completion of study.
If the applicant is under 21, a parent or a guardian stands surety, unless the student is offered a loan from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (applications for these loans are made to the university financial aid office).
This type of financial assistance is awarded to a student according to the level of his/her needs, taking into account the financial circumstances of the family.
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is a public non-profit making organisation, funded by the national Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).
It uses the funds allocated from the South African Government and money repaid by previously-funded students to provide loans to academically deserving and financially needy students at all public universities and FET Colleges.
Only South African students who are registered at a public university in South Africa are eligible for NSFAS loans and bursaries.
An electronic means test provided by NSFAS is used to determine financial need.
This test helps the university to determine how much your family can be reasonably expected to contribute to the costs of your studies at Walter Sisulu University, and provides an indication of what the size of your loan should be.
The means test determines your EFC (expected family contribution), and it is this EFC that is used to rank all the applications submitted, from most negative (the family that can least afford to contribute to the cost of study) to the most positive (the family that can most afford to contribute to the cost of study).
Using both actual income and EFC, the Financial Aid Office (FAO) then can rank students according to need and allocate awards within the budget allocated by NSFAS.
For continuing students, the FAO issues forms to registered students only.
For students applying for admission to the university for the first time, an application form (hotlink to app pdf here) can be requested from the FAO, collected from University Admissions, or sent by post.
No application or administration fees are payable whatsoever.
In addition, if you are awarded a NSFAS loan, NSFAS does not charge any administration fees for handling or recovering your loan.
When you apply for NSFAS:
Take note of the closing dates.
For the 2014 academic year, the closing date for all continuing students applications will be the 30 September 2013.
Applications from students applying for first-time admission to the university will be accepted until the 30 November 2013.
However, all first time admissions can submit an application form for financial aid with their application for admission form. These will be forwarded to the financial aid office for pre-processing should you be granted admission and register at the university.
Please see the detailed instructions on the application form for a list of all supporting documents required, and other important information related to your application for financial aid.
WSU does not take responsibility for forms that have not been accurately completed or which are incomplete, and these may not be considered.
Acceptance of the form does not mean that the form is complete and valid.
When continuing students hand in their forms, they will be issued with a receipt of confirmation (please keep this receipt for reference).
All forms are captured onto the university system, and academic results and financial need evaluated.
A report of all students who have been successful in their applications will be published on the WSU website, placed on student notice boards, and made available to Faculty Officers (with only student numbers as the references).
What happens when I accept the offer for NSFAS student financial aid?
If you are successful in your application for NSFAS financial aid, you will need to enter into a loan agreement with NSFAS, which the WSU Student Financial Aid Office will assist you with.
NSFAS loans are interest-free while you are at university, and when you finish your studies, graduate from WSU and get a job where you are earning more than R30 000 a year, you will need to start repaying your loan.
Each NSFAS loan agreement form has a set of terms and conditions, and you need to understand these before you decide to accept the loan.
Signing each page of the pre-agreement quotation and the loan agreement form means that you understand the conditions of the loan and that you are agreeing to the conditions of the loan.
All the funds that have not been used by students for the year they have received an award should be sent back to NSFAS and will be regarded as an initial payment towards the loan.
Remember, NSFAS does not pay for extra-curricular activities, and your NSFAS loan will only cover your tuition, any residence or private accommodation fees, and may include an allowance for books, meals or transport.
Some bursaries offered through NSFAS also include a stipend for practicals (teaching, social work).
And if my application is not successful, and I don’t get NSFAS funding?
There are only two reasons why your application for NSFAS student funding will be unsuccessful:
if you have not passed your previous year of study successfully enough or
if you are not as financially needy as students with lower expected family contributions (EFCs) as per the NSFAS financial means test.
Because NSFAS funding is limited, WSU has to assist the neediest students first, and this EFC is a measure of how financially needy you and your family is relative to the other students at the university – a higher EFC means that your family is more able to pay your costs than for a student with a low EFC.
If you have no outstanding supplementary results, you will then be responsible for your own fees.
EduLoan has offices on campus, and they are ready to assist students who are not approved for NSFAS funding.
What about if I do have outstanding supplementary exam results at the time of registration?
For some categories of funding, there are other selection criteria. Final Year funding for students
Need to have been previously funded by NSFAS
Need to have been registered in the last two years
Need to be on track to graduate at the end of this academic year
Cannot have received Final Year funding previously.
For the NSF Scarce Skills funding, there are particular areas of study that have been identified as scarce skills, and students are selected on the basis of financial means and academic merit. For the Initial Teacher Education funding, only first years undertaking teaching in the same priority areas as Funza Lushaka will be considered for funding. For continuing students, priority will be given to students who were registered in the last two years of study and who have been previously funded by NSFAS. However, all continuing students are invited to apply and will be considered if there is funding available.