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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.

Unisa students are funded through Council bursaries, Unisa Foundation (UF) merit bursaries and ABSA funding.

Unisa’s Council Bursary

Unisa’s Council Bursary of R99 million is going a long way towards making education possible for needy students, and improving throughput rates. 

Half of the funds were specifically earmarked for bursaries for undergraduate students. Thus, close to R50 million was made available to assist deserving students, who would otherwise not have been able to further their studies at Unisa due to a lack of funds. The rest of the funds, or approximately R49.5 million, went towards incentives for both undergraduate and master’s and doctoral students, who have completed their qualifications within the minimum prescribed period of time, by refunding 30% of their student fees. This is a win-win situation: diligent students completing their studies within the required time will in turn contribute to an improved throughput rate for the university.  

To date, close to R46 million of the bursary part of the funds has been utilised to assist 6 346 students with study bursaries. Who benefited? Below is a synopsis of how the funds were distributed.

Profile of the beneficiaries

Fund utilisation to date

Total number sent to service provider for verification 12 112
Total number approved based on performance and income 11 054
Total number of students processed to date 6 346
Total number of students with disabilities processed to date 35
Total number rejected due to insufficient funds 5 791
Total amount processed to date (tuition and books) R45,880,286.93

Application process

Students were provided with two options to submit their application forms with supporting documents:

  • via e-mail (caf@unisa.ac.za)
  • at the nearest Unisa regional office

Both successful and unsuccessful students were notified of the outcome of their application via SMS.

Applications received 17 749
Duplicate applications received 3 156
Applications captured 14 593
Applications to be captured 0
Rejected based on high income 1058
Rejected due to poor academic performance 3 287
Rejected due to ineligibility (non-South African criterion) 47
Total applications rejected 4 392

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. Bursaries are for the following: 

  • 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.


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.

Click here for more information about the funding criteria.

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