Getting a degree or diploma can be very expensive and a lot of families don’t really have the means to cover all the costs involved. So what do you do after you’ve sold some old textbooks, and raised just enough money to pay for the year’s registration? How do you navigate your tertiary fees from here?

Visit your university’s financial aid office once a week

Every university has a dedicated financial aid office that’s responsible for assisting students who can’t afford to pay for their tuition. This office usually has announcements and advertisements from various bursars as well as organisations who provide scholarships to students in their respective fields of study. The clerks also have information about private donors who want to help out students in dire need and can tell you how to get in touch with them.

Find out about on-campus employment opportunities

Did you know that a lot of the library assistants, media centre monitors and tutors are actually students themselves? There’s a very good chance that your university has job openings specifically for students so you can work during your free time since the university would allocate your hours based on your timetable.

Consider getting a student loan

Most South African banks have student loan packages that are calculated based on your income and credit criteria. Your parents/ guardian would have to be responsible for paying the monthly interest rates, while you worry about finishing school. Student loans are only payable once you’ve completed your qualification and are employed. You also get to work out a payment plan that’s suitable for you. So maybe you should visit your nearest bank and find out which one has the best student loan for you and your family.

Find out if you qualify for government funding

The National Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) provides funding for university students whose gross family monthly earnings are beneath a certain income bracket. You can apply for this funding at your university’s financial aid office or online. NSFAS also caters for certain students’ meals and accommodation expenses — it all depends on how much your family can afford.

Talk to your lecturers

Lecturers usually know about specific student grants and scholarships within their fields of study and can advise you on how to go about applying for these if you meet the criteria. So if you’re getting good grades and aren’t too sure about the financial help available to you, paying your lecturer, Head of Department or faculty office a visit may be a good idea.

Finding funding for your tertiary education can get pretty stressful, but there are options available to you. Give these 5 tips a try, and see which one pays off. You can also have a look at our Opportunities section for some bursary options. Good luck!

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