7 Differences Between NSFAS and Funza Lushaka Bursaries

The NSFAS bursary and the Funza Lushaka Bursary are two of the most popular funding options in South Africa when wanting to study further. If you’re interested in knowing the difference between the two, keep reading.


Bursaries can often be the key to our success when wanting to further our studies. Two bursaries that South Africans might have heard of is the NSFAS bursary and the Funza Lushaka Bursary. However, the two bursaries differ in certain areas.


The Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme is a multi-year programme aimed at promoting teaching as a profession and requires students to accept a teaching post immediately after qualifying and they will need to occupy this teaching position for the amount of years that they were funded. This is different in comparison to NSFAS which not only funds teaching degrees but also funds various courses at public universities and TVET Colleges in South Africa.


The terms regarding repaying the bursary programme also differs.


All students who received a NSFAS loan before the president’s announcement of free education in December 2017 need to repay the loaned amount as per the signed loan agreement form. Those who have to repay will only start repaying the loan once they have a salary of R30 000 or more per year.

Should you have started funding with NSFAS in 2018 and thereafter, you have received a bursary and there’s no need for you to pay NSFAS back.

Beneficiaries of the Funza Lushaka Bursary may have to repay should they fall under the following cases:

  • if the recipient fails to qualify
  • registers for a course of study that is not in a designated priority area
  • fails to apply for a teaching post with a Provincial Education Department at a public school, following the stipulated processes
  • fails to take up a teaching post with a Provincial Education Department at a public school
  • leaves a teaching post with a Provincial Education Department before the end of the contracted service period
  • fails to meet a requirement of the bursary agreement

Age Limit

The Funza Lushaka Bursary, which funds students year after year, has also got an age limit attached to its list of requirements for students to qualify for the programme, is only for applicants below the age of 30.

However, NSFAS does not have an age limit when it comes to those who can apply. No matter what your age is, if you meet the requirements, you can get funded by NSFAS.


The Funza Lushaka Bursary does not cover registration fees and they have stated that students are responsible for paying their registration as they await the outcome of their application. They have also stated that paying your registration fee does not mean that you will receive the bursary.

NSFAS does however cover your registration fee. Should you be asked for a registration fee when you register, you will just need to clarify that you are funded by NSFAS.


Postgraduate Certificate of Education

The Funza Lushaka Bursary focusses on promoting teaching as a profession and because of this, they cover Postgraduate Certificates of Education (PGCE) courses.

However, NSFAS does not cover postgraduate courses anymore and this goes for PGCE as well. Previously, NSFAS funded the qualification but due to financial shortfalls, they decided to no longer fund it.

TVET Students

NSFAS funding covers students who are attending one of the 50 TVET Colleges in South Africa, no matter what course they’re doing. Funza Lushaka however doesn’t with them only funding Bachelor of Education degrees and PGCE, which is only done at Universities.


Another way in which the two bursaries differ is when it comes to duration. NSFAS follows the N+ rule while Funza does funding year by year.

The NSFAS N+ rule which now applies is N+1 which means that they will fund you for 1 extra year. If your degree is three years long, they will then fund you for four years.

The Funza Lushaka Bursary is awarded for one academic year at a time and the bursary will only be renewed if you send them proof of good academic performance. This means that you will have to apply for the renewal of the bursary every year.

Head to the NSFAS website or the Funza Lushaka Bursary website to know more about these bursaries.

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