Walter Sisulu University Bursaries And Student Loans

Walter Sisulu University Bursaries And Student Loans

What are some of the forms of financial support available for students at Walter Sisulu University?

  • 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.

So what is NSFAS then?

  • 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.
  • The form is available here.

What does academically deserving mean?

  • Continuing students need to pass a minimum of 50% of their registered subjects to be considered for financial aid.
  • First year students must be approved for a formal academic qualification and offered an academic place at the university.
  • However, all students will be ranked according to the average course pass rate.
  • This means that a student who has enrolled for six subjects and passed six subjects has a better chance of getting financial aid than a student who enrolled for six subjects and passed only three.
  • It is possible that in the future, NSFAS may consider also using the average % of all exams admitted to as a further ranking criterion.

What does financially needy mean?

  • 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.
  • The form is available here.

Do all students who apply for loans receive financial aid?

  • Applying for a NSFAS loan does not guarantee that you will receive a loan.
  • All student applications are evaluated against the criteria above, and those students who applied on time, and most meet the criteria will be granted loans first.
  • So, all students are ranked according to academic merit and financial need.
  • The number of students supported depends on how much money is allocated by NSFAS to the university for student financial aid.
  • Ensuring that you work hard at your studies in the current year, that your application is handed in on time, and that it is complete and accurate will give you more chance of being considered.

What do I need to know about applying for financial aid at WSU?

  • 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.

Where must my application form be sent/handed in?

  • All application forms will need to be handed in to the Financial Aid Office before the closing date, with all supporting documents.
  • No faxed or emailed application forms will be accepted.
  • Postal applications will only be accepted if received before the closing date AND if all the supporting documentation is attached.
  • Any financial aid application forms mailed MUST be mailed separately from your application for admission form, and should be marked clearly: WSU Student Financial Aid Office (NSFAS).
  • The form is available here.

What happens if I don’t have all the necessary documentation?

  • If documentation is not included, the form will not be accepted and will be returned to you until you have submitted all the documents.
  • If this is not received before the closing date, your application will be unsuccessful (see below for what documents are needed).

Do I have to apply every year?

  • Currently, all students have to apply EACH and EVERY year that you register for studies. Previous or current NSFAS loans do not guarantee future NSFAS loans.
  • If you need to secure financial aid to register at the university, it is even more important that your application is submitted as early as possible.
  • In the future however, NSFAS is introducing a new system in which you only apply once at the beginning of your studies.
  • If you are successful, and so long as your academic progress remains satisfactory, NSFAS will continue to provide financial support for your studies.

Do I have to pay an application fee to apply for financial aid?

  • 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.

What happens after I hand in my application form?

  • 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.

When will the loans funds be available?

  • Once the list above is available, you will be cleared for registration.
  • However, before any funds are made available to your student fee account, you will need to come to the WSU Financial Aid Office to complete a pre-agreement loan quotation and a loan agreement form.
  • No allowances will be made available on your Intellicard until five days after you have completed the loan agreement form, and all documents have been finalised.
  • Only once the loan forms have been submitted to NSFAS, and the from NSFAS received, will your student fee accounts be credited and your tuition and residence costs settled.
  • However, the first quarter meal allowances and book allowances will be activated on the Intellicard.

What happens to any money that is left available in my student fee account once all my university costs have been paid for?

  • 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?

  • If you have results outstanding for supplementary examinations, you may bring an academic record (as soon as the supplementary results are available) to the WSU Financial Aid Office for re-evaluation.
  • If you then qualify for NSFAS, you will need to complete a pre-agreement and loan agreement form.

Contact us
For more information, contact us at:
Buffalo City

  • Potsdam: Tel 043 708 5391
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  • Nelson Mandela Drive: Tel 047 502 2312/2422/2428


  • Ibika: Tel 047 401 6203