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Shape My Future

The University of South Africa (Unisa) has launched a special appeal for donations towards student bursaries, scholarships and the overall advancement of education at Unisa. 

Access, retention and throughput remain a challenge for the majority of our students.

Your donation contributes to lighting the way and shaping future of the generations to come. 

Please select your payment method:

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The majority of Unisa's students are funded through NSFAS. Other forms of student funding emanating from third stream income include Unisa Foundation (UF) merit bursaries, ABSA funding and the Hillensberg Trust, amongst others. Unisa Council and Management have also introduced Council bursaries to supplement NSFAS funding.

Unisa’s Council Bursary

Unisa’s Council Bursary is going a long way towards making education possible for needy students, and improving throughput rates. 

For 2018 an amount of R46 million was approved for the Unisa Council Bursary:

Fund utilisation to date

Tuition fees - actual 23 217 535
Number of students awarded 4 319

Unisa Foundation (UF) Merit Bursaries

The Unisa Foundation Board of Trustees has made available an amount of R28 million to augment other student funding allocations available at the university. An amount of R7 million will be allocated for the first two years and the balance on the last year.

The criteria for merit bursaries are: 

    • Financially needy students and the missing middle qualifying students whose annual family income is R600 000 or less.
    • Students enrolled for all formal undergraduate qualifications.  
    • Students must have obtained at least 75% and above average in their first year of studies.
    • It is limited to South African citizens;
    • First-year students will not qualify for academic merit bursaries during their first year of study;
    • The student will be required to complete the undergraduate qualification within a specified period;
    • The bursary caters for tuition and prescribed books or a device.  Funding for prescribed books will be dependent on the recipient producing a valid quotation from a registered bookseller.

Fund utilisation: 2017

Total number of applications received 886
Total number approved based on performance and income 265
Total applications rejected 621
Total amount processed to date (tuition and books) 1 890 051.40

Fund utilisation: 2018

Total number of applications received 701
Total number approved based on performance and income 367
Total applications rejected 330
Total number of disabled students processed to date
Total number rejected due to insufficient funds 0
Total amount processed to date (tuition and books) 3 613 704.33


ABSA funding

ABSA has allocated R6.5 million for Unisa to assist students from disadvantaged families with scholarships for the 2017 academic year. The scholarship programme is aimed at tackling social changes and driving economic growth by contributing to the improvement of enterprise skills, financial skills and life skills of the next generation through the awarding of scholarships to disadvantaged and deserving young people, and enabling them to realise their potential.

In 2018, ABSA allocated a further R4 million in response to the announcement of free education at universities. The money will be disbursed to students who meet the programme criteria (applications have a proven financial need, they are members of a household with a combined gross of not more than R1 million per annum and they have an academic average of 55% of higher).

A total of 102 students who were beneficiaries of the ABSA funding graduated in 2018. The 2018 intake will also comprise of 50% undergraduate students who are in their second year of study and 50% who are in their third year of study.

Click here for more information about the funding criteria.

Hillensberg Trust 2017 Bursary Grant

The Hillensberg Trust granted Unisa an amount of R1 million in 2017 towards the specific purpose of establishing bursaries in the faculties of medicine, technology, the visual arts and music. The Trust also accepted applications for other health related courses. The bursary is for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

The bursary caters for financially needy and academically deserving students. It also covers for full study costs including prescribed books as well as any related study costs and equipment requirements. The Hillensberg Trust bursary funding does not need to be repaid by the bursar upon graduation.

In 2018 the Hillensberg approved an amount of R1.1 million. The trust would like to see all its beneficiaries benefitting from a holistic learner support programme to enhance academic performance.

National Department of Arts and Culture

In 2015 The National Department of Arts and Culture and the University of South Africa signed the  contract to promote and develop skills for the previously marginalities languages. The specific objective for the agreement was provide bursaries to students to study courses in Linguistic Theory , Translations  and Editing, Interpretation of Lexicography, Terminology Development and Management, Language Planning Human Language  Technologies and South Africa Sign Language. 

A total grant of R3 050 000.00 was awarded in trenches annually over a three year period to Unisa for allocation of towards student bursaries for specified qualification as per contract.

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