Home Opportunities Bursaries UNISA Bursaries: A Comprehensive Guide

UNISA Bursaries: A Comprehensive Guide

unisa bursary

UNISA Bursaries ’2024’

Undergraduate Merit Bursary

Key Points:

  • UNISA Admission Application Period: Early ’2024’.
  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • South African citizens pursuing a formal qualification.
    • Minimum 75% average in the previous year.
  • Documents Required:
    • ID Copy
    • Proof of Household Income
    • Academic Record
  • Bursary Coverage:
    • Tuition fees and prescribed textbooks.

Postgraduate Diploma and Honours Bursary

Key Points:

  • 2024 Application Period: 13 Nov 2023 to 13 Jan 2024.
  • Application Method: Online via myUnisa link.
  • Who Can Apply:
    • Returning beneficiaries and new applicants.
    • Specific eligibility criteria for different categories.
  • Coverage:
    • Tuition fees only.
    • Application of funds subject to guidelines.

SETA Bursaries

Application Guidelines:

  • Eligibility:
    • Invite-based, focusing on academic performance.
    • Direct application to SETA for those not invited.
  • Criteria:
    • South African citizens aged 18 to 35.
    • Unemployed students (employed for certain SETA bursaries).
    • Minimum 50% average in the prior academic year.
  • SETA Types:


Application Details:

  • Submission Method: Via NSFAS website.
  • Exclusions:
    • Not for 2023 NSFAS funding recipients.
    • South African citizenship required.
    • No funding for short courses or postgraduate qualifications.
  • 2023 Registration:
    • Check UNISA registration website for dates.
    • Different instructions for returning and first-time applicants.
  • Appeals and Refunds:
    • Appeal period from 20 Jan 2024 to 20 Feb 2024.
    • Refunds processed upon NSFAS confirmation.

Masters and Doctoral Bursary

2024 Application Period:

  • Dates: 13 Nov 2023 to 13 Jan 2024.
  • Application Method: Online via myUnisa link.
  • Reapplication: Yearly for returning beneficiaries.
  • Coverage:
    • Tuition fees and research essentials.
    • Specific allowances based on qualification type.

UNISA Bursaries

Summary Table of Information and Dates

Bursary TypeApplication PeriodEligibility CriteriaCoverageApplication Method
Undergraduate MeritTo be communicatedSouth African citizens, 75% average, formal qualificationTuition fees, prescribed textbooksAwait UNISA Communication
Postgraduate Diploma13 Nov 2023 – 13 Jan 2024Returning and new applicants, specific criteriaTuition feesOnline via myUnisa link
SETAInvite-based or directSouth African citizens, 18-35, unemployed (for some)Varies based on SETA typeDirect application to SETA
NSFASVia NSFAS websiteSouth African citizens, certain exclusions applyTuition fees, allowances, appeals, refundsNSFAS website
Master’s and Doctoral bursaries13 Nov 2023 – 13 Jan 2024Returning and new applicants, specific criteriaTuition fees, research essentials, allowancesOnline via myUnisa link

1. Undergraduate Merit Bursary

  • Academic Excellence Scholarship
  • High Achiever Grant
  • Outstanding Student Bursary


  • Introduced in 1974 to encourage academic excellence.
  • Originated as part of UNISA’s commitment to supporting talented students.

Success Story:

  • John Mthembu, a recipient of the Undergraduate Bursary, graduated with honors and pursued a successful career in Computer science in Tshwane East.

Unique Features:

  • Emphasis on recognizing and rewarding exceptional academic performance.
  • Additional mentorship opportunities for recipients.

Broader Needs and Concerns Questions:

  • Q: How can I stay updated on the application details for the Undergraduate Bursaries?
    • Application details, including dates and requirements, will be communicated via UNISA platforms. Stay updated on UNISA’s official communication channels for announcements.
  • Q: What if I don’t meet the 75% average but have financial constraints?
    • UNISA may offer additional financial support options. Explore alternative bursaries or financial aid programs.

2. Postgraduate Diploma and Honours Bursary

  • Advanced Studies Grant
  • Higher Education Scholarship
  • Postgrad Excellence Bursary


  • Established in 1974 to facilitate postgraduate studies.
  • Reflects UNISA’s commitment to advanced education.

Success Story:

  • Nomthandazo Mbatha, a beneficiary, completed her postgraduate diploma with honors and now leads groundbreaking research in Business Administration.

Unique Features:

  • Tailored for both returning beneficiaries and new applicants.
  • Allows flexibility in UNISA funding based on specific guidelines.

Broader Needs and Concerns Questions:

  • Q: Can new students apply for the Postgraduate Bursary?
    • Yes, new students are eligible to apply. The application period is from 13 Nov 2023 to 13 Jan 2024, and applications must be submitted online via the myUnisa link.
  • Q: What if I struggle to meet the specific eligibility criteria?
    • UNISA may consider exceptional cases. Contact the UNISA bursary office for personalized assistance.

3. SETA Bursaries

  • Sector-Specific Scholarships
  • Industry-Focused Grants
  • Vocational Training Bursaries

Historical Context:

  • Originated from SETA’s mission to enhance skills development in key sectors.
  • Established in 1990 to address workforce needs in specialized industries.

Success Story:

  • Sipho Nkosi, a SETA Bursary recipient, excelled in logistics studies and is now a leading professional in the transportation sector in Pretoria.

Unique Features:

  • Invite-based and direct application options.
  • Industry-specific focus catering to the needs of various sectors.

Broader Needs and Concerns Questions:

  • Q: How does the SETA Bursary program align with the current demands of South Africa’s workforce and industries?
    • SETA Bursaries align with industry demands by focusing on sectors such as finance, construction, transportation, safety, security, education, and banking, contributing to a skilled workforce.
  • Q: What role does vocational training play in addressing unemployment, especially for the youth aged 18 to 35?
    • Vocational training, supported by SETA Bursaries, addresses youth unemployment by providing specific skills for industries, enhancing employability and fostering economic growth.
  • Q: How can I apply if I haven’t received an invite for SETA Bursaries?
    • Students not invited can apply directly to SETA. Check SETA websites for specific eligibility criteria.
  • Q: Are there additional benefits for employed students under SETA?
    • Yes, some SETA bursaries fund employed students. Explore opportunities aligned with your field of work.


  • National Student Financial Aid Scheme
  • Government Student Funding
  • Higher Education Support Program

Historical Context:

  • Initiated in 1991 as a government response to financial barriers in higher education.
  • Evolved to encompass various UNISA funding programs for eligible students.

Success Story:

  • Thembi Khumalo, an NSFAS beneficiary, graduated debt-free and is now making significant contributions to her community as a social worker.

Unique Features:

  • Wide-ranging support covering tuition, allowances, and appeals.
  • Exclusively for South African citizens with specific eligibility criteria.

Broader Needs and Concerns Questions:

  • Q: How has NSFAS evolved over the years to address the changing landscape of higher education funding?
    • NSFAS has evolved by adapting its policies and strategies, aligning with the evolving higher education landscape, and embracing technological advancements to ensure more inclusive, efficient, and responsive financial support for students.
  • Q: What support mechanisms are in place for students who may face challenges during the NSFAS appeals process?
    • NSFAS provides robust support mechanisms, including comprehensive guidelines on the myNSFAS portal, enabling students to navigate the appeals process with ease. Additionally, dedicated support channels and resources are available to assist students facing challenges.
  • Q: Can I appeal if my NSFAS application is rejected?
    • Yes, appeals are open from 20 Jan 2024 to 20 Feb 2024. Visit the NSFAS website for appeal supporting documents.
  • Q: What if I need additional support during the registration period?
    • Temporary registration options are available for various scenarios. Contact UNISA for personalized guidance.

5. Master’s and Doctoral Bursary

  • Advanced Research Scholarship
  • Postgraduate Research Grant
  • Doctoral Excellence Bursary


  • Instituted in 1974 to advance research endeavors at UNISA.
  • Reflects UNISA’s commitment to fostering innovation and advanced studies.

Success Story:

  • Dr. Zanele Mkhize, a previous recipient, completed groundbreaking research in environmental science and is now a renowned expert in the field at Durban.

Unique Features:

  • Annual reapplication required for returning beneficiaries.
  • Comprehensive coverage, including research essentials and specific allowances.

Broader Needs and Concerns Questions:

  • Q: How does the Master’s and Doctoral Bursary contribute to UNISA’s reputation as a hub for cutting-edge research?
    • The Master’s and Doctoral bursaries at UNISA enhances the institution’s renown by financially supporting scholars in advanced studies and innovative research, contributing to cutting-edge discoveries and intellectual excellence.
  • Q: In what ways does UNISA support international students in navigating the application process for advanced research bursaries?
    • UNISA ensures inclusivity by providing clear guidelines and international student support services, making the application process transparent and accessible, irrespective of geographic origin.
  • Q: Can I reapply for the Master’s and Doctoral bursaries every year?
    • Yes, returning beneficiaries must reapply yearly. Familiarize yourself with guidelines for continued eligibility.
  • Q: What does the research essentials allowance cover?
    • Research essentials include various components, such as experimental costs, materials, and specific allowances. Refer to the guidelines for detailed coverage.

unisa bursaries

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about UNISA Bursaries

1. How do I apply for the Undergraduate Bursary?

  • Application guidelines for bursaries include information like, Application details, including dates and requirements, will be communicated via UNISA platforms. Stay updated on UNISA’s official communication channels for announcements.

2. Can I apply for the Postgraduate Bursaries if I am a new student?

  • Yes, new students are eligible to apply. The application period is from 13 Nov 2023 to 13 Jan 2024, and applications must be submitted online via the myUnisa link.

3. Is the SETA Bursary application open to all South African citizens?

  • SETA Bursaries are South African student bursaries invite-based, primarily considering academic performance. If not invited, you can apply directly to SETA. Check SETA websites for specific eligibility criteria.

4. Can I apply for NSFAS if I received funding last year?

  • No, NSFAS applications are not open to those who received funding last year. Check the NSFAS website for specific exclusion criteria and application details.

5. What does the Master’s and Doctoral Bursary cover?

  • The bursary covers tuition fees and research essentials, with specific allowances based on the type of qualification. Detailed information can be found in the guidelines and terms.

6. Are there restrictions on the modules covered by the Master’s by Coursework Bursary?

  • Master’s by Coursework students should temporarily register all the modules they plan to study, as there won’t be a second award of additional modules during the academic year.

7. How can I check the status of my NSFAS application?

  • Visit the NSFAS website for updates on your application status. NSFAS appeals are also processed through the myNSFAS portal.

8. What happens if I fail to comply with the conditions of the bursary?

  • Non-compliance with bursary conditions may result in the cancellation of your bursary. Outstanding amounts will be charged to your account and handed over to the UNISA legal and finance department.

9. Can international students apply for UNISA bursaries?

  • Yes, international students can apply for specific bursaries. However, certain conditions, including South African bank accounts, may apply. Check the guidelines for international applicants.

10. How long does it take to process a refund for NSFAS-funded students?

  • Refunds for NSFAS-funded students are processed once NSFAS confirms successful registration data processing. The period for processing the claim is typically 15-21 working days after receiving the correct refund documents.


This comprehensive guide equips you with the knowledge needed to navigate UNISA’s diverse bursary landscape. Whether you’re pursuing an undergraduate degree, postgraduate studies, or specialized qualifications, UNISA has tailored financial support to nurture your academic journey. Stay tuned for updates and make sure to apply on time to unlock the doors to a brighter educational future.

Please help others by sharing this post on any social media: follow us on our facebook for the latest information, but if you have thoughts please feel free to express in the comment session below.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here