UNISA Student Funding: Bursaries And Loan – How To Apply 2023

Hi, are you a student at UNISA and finding it hard to pay your tuition fees? Then UNISA Student Funding which includes both Unisa Bursaries and Loan is here to assist you financially.


In this article, you will explore so many kinds of student funding including undergraduate, postgraduate, Master, and Doctorate UNISA Student Funding bursaries, and NSFAS Funding.

UNISA Student Funding

The main aim of the Unisa Student funding is to assist financially needy and academically deserving students. Over the years, UNISA has empowered over twenty thousand Students with their student funding Directorate.


UNISA Student Funding: UNISA Bursaries For Undergraduate

Below are the Bursaries for Undergraduate Qualifications

Unisa merit bursary

The next application period is communicated through this platform and all Unisa social media platforms. Bursary conditions

  • Students must have obtained an average of at least 75% and above in their previous year of study.
  • The bursary is only awarded to South African citizens registered for a formal qualification in any discipline at Unisa.
  • The bursary covers tuition fees and prescribed textbooks only.
  • Awards will only be made if there is sufficient funding.
  • Students who received the bursary in 2022 do not need to apply. Such students must, however, meet the 75% average to be considered for the bursary in 2023.

Required documents

The following documents are required:

  • Copy of ID
  • Proof of household income
  • Parents’ IDs (for dependent


The criteria for awarding of merit bursary are as follows:

a. The bursary shall be allocated to all undergraduate formal qualifications.
b. Students must have obtained at least 75% and above average in their previous year of study;
c. Financially needy and missing middle students qualify to be considered for the bursary
(capped an annual family income of R600 000);
d. Students must register for a maximum of five (5) modules per Semester and the equivalent for
year courses;
e. Seventy percent (70%) of the funding will be reserved for students from previously disadvantaged
backgrounds who obtained 75% and above average;
f. The bursary shall be limited to South African citizens; g. First-year students will not qualify for
academic merit;
h. Students who deregister or cancel their registration will be liable to pay back for the canceled or
deregistered modules;
i. If the examination results of a bursar are such that s/he will not make 75% average, the bursar will
be excluded from the bursary in the following year;
j. By nature of the bursary, students will be required to complete undergraduate qualifications as per
the University’s progression guidelines;
k. The funds will be allocated proportionally across Colleges, based on the number of qualifying
l. The bursary shall cater for tuition and prescribed books only;
m. The Directorate: Student Funding will select and allocate the funding based on performance;
n. Successful candidates will be notified by whatever means necessary and will be required to sign a
bursary acceptance form; and
o. On completion of studies and finding employment, the bursary recipients are encouraged to
voluntarily make monthly and/or annual donations to the University’s bursary program to support
the next generation of students.
All applications must be sent to kgolejk1@unisa.ac.za on or before 28 February 2023.

UNISA Post-Graduate Diplomas and Honor Degrees Bursaries

We would like to announce that the 2023 UNISA Postgraduate Bursary Application period closing date has been extended to 2 February 2023 for all UNISA PG Diploma, Honours, Master’s, and Doctoral bursaries.


The core purpose is to provide financial support to postgraduate students through a student-centered platform and assist the university in attracting and supporting postgraduate students in delivering quality research outputs.

UNISA Bursaries: master’s and doctoral degrees

The 2023 UNISA Postgraduate Bursary Application period closing date has been extended to 2 February 2023.

N.B: Only online applications submitted via the myUnisa link will be considered. No hard copy or e-mail applications will be considered.

N.B: Students need to be temporarily registered for registration to be activated once the application is successful.

About the bursary

The master’s and doctoral bursaries aim to assist students with their research activities and tuition fees, enabling them to register for and complete their degrees.

The bursary is intended to provide financial support to Unisa South African and international masters and doctoral students, subject to eligibility, academic performance, and the availability of funds.

M&D Bursary Guidelines, Terms, and Conditions

Who can apply?

  • UNISA South African and international Master’s/ Doctoral students (with preference given to South African students according to an 80/20 percent ratio)
  • Master’s and Doctoral research students who have completed their Research Proposal module (by 31 January 2023) supported by a supervisor’s report (Section C of the application form) that recommends financial support on grounds of academic performance.
  • Master’s by Coursework
    • Master’s by coursework students who have passed 2 coursework modules (by 31 January 2023).
    • Master’s by coursework students who have passed all their modules (by 31 January 2023) doing research, supported by supervisor’s report (Section C of the application form) that recommends financial support on grounds of academic performance in the coursework modules already completed (including proposal module).

Who can NOT apply?

  • UNISA permanent staff members
  • First-year Master’s/ Doctoral students
  • Students registered for Masters of Business Administration and Masters of Business Leadership
  • Students registered for special study programs, including certificates (e.g., PGCE) and non-degree purpose programs are not eligible for this bursary
  • Students who already hold a postgraduate degree at the same or a higher NQF level than the qualification registered for are not eligible for this bursary.

What does the bursary fund?

  • The award funds students for the first TWO, THREE, or FOUR consecutive years of study.
  • Master’s degree by research and experimental research: The bursary covers tuition fees and research essentials limited to R55 000 over the first three consecutive years of study towards the qualification.
  • Master’s degree by coursework: The bursary covers tuition fees and research essentials limited to R25 000 over the first two consecutive years of study towards the qualification.
  • Doctoral degree by research: The bursary covers tuition fees and research essentials limited to R80 000 over the first four consecutive years of study towards the qualification.
  • Doctoral degree by experimental research: The bursary covers tuition fees and research essentials limited to R120 000 over the first four consecutive years of study towards the qualification.

The outcome is communicated to the student’s mylife email account:

  • Unsuccessful students who paid for their own registration should deregister before the cancellation closing date (through their colleges/ myUnisa) if they cannot find alternative funding.
  • Master’s and Doctoral students may submit an appeal between 1 May – 7 May, supported by a supervisor
    • Appeals should be submitted as a formal email to CGS-pgb@unisa.ac.za with information/ evidence proving that the rejection reason(s) provided contradicts student’s status quo.
    • Students who can NOT appeal
      • Students who have been fully funded for the full bursary period
      • Students who are unsuccessful due to insufficient funds
      • Students who have adequate external/ alternative funding (double dipping)
      • Students who were rejected by the college vetting process due to unsatisfactory academic performance
      • Students who are NOT eligible for the bursary as per bursary guidelines, terms, and conditions

What should be awarded students do? 

  • Send the signed bursary contract as per email instructions before the closing date thereof.
  • Submit their banking details through the provided link as per email instructions from the award section.
    • Students can NOT use a third-party bank account (the bank account should be the student’s account) to receive a refund/allowance.
  • Submit complete refund forms along with all required supporting documents as per email instructions from the award section at DSF-POSTGRD@unisa.ac.za
    • Please note Passport number must be valid and up to date on the UNISA system. If necessary, ensure you update your Unisa details with registration at study-info@unisa.ac.za or enquire@unisa.ac.za
    • The supervisor’s name and signature should be completed on the refund/allowance claim form
    • The period of processing the claim will take 15-21 working days after receiving the refund documents.
    • Supporting documents to be attached:
      • certified ID/ passport copy not older than six months
      • Proof of payment/invoice/receipt if claiming for own money.

Please note: 

  • Applications MUST be SUBMITTED ONLINE VIA MYUNISA, no late, incomplete, email, or hand-delivered applications will be accepted/ considered.
  • Unisa gives no guarantee that the bursary will be awarded to all eligible students, as the bursary is subject to the availability of funds
  • If you have been a beneficiary for the full bursary years student will NOT be funded for an additional year whatsoever
  • If a student:
    • fails to comply with any of the conditions of the award, and/or
    • terminates their studies, their Unisa postgraduate bursary will be canceled, and the current year’s Unisa postgraduate bursary amount awarded will be charged to the student’s account, which will be handed over to the Unisa legal and finance department to affect the collection process.
  • Re-application for a 2nd/3rd or 4th year of funding is required for the 2nd/3rd or 4th year of study and will ONLY be considered if the student maintained satisfactory academic progress in their previous year of study as per Section C report of the application form.
  • A student who wishes to cancel their registration/ modules will have to deregister before the cancellation closing date (through their colleges/ myUnisa) and once cancellation is confirmed, communicate an award withdrawal to DSF PGB Award Section at DSF-POSTGRD@unisa.ac.za
    • Note that the Division of Student Funding DOES NOT administer deregistration/ module cancellations.
    • It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that they cancel before the cancellation closing date and note that the student may forfeit any amounts paid by the student and or may remain liable to pay the full outstanding fees.
    • For Master’s and Doctoral cancellations, visit:
      • After you register
  • If you need assistance in applying for a bursary, please contact the DSF PGB Application section at cgs-pgb@unisa.ac.za
  • Application outcomes will only be communicated to students via their myLife email account.
  • If you need assistance relating to the processing of bursary refunds/allowances, or payment of funds for an awarded bursary, please contact the DSF PGB Application section at DSF-POSTGRD@unisa.ac.za

Master’s degree by dissertation & doctoral studies

The next application period for this bursary will open in November 2020.

(Only online applications will be considered. No hardcopy or e-mail applications will be accepted.)


Download the 2020 master’s & doctoral motivation form, which must be completed by both the student and the supervisor. The completed form may only be submitted online. 


The following requirements are for master’s degrees by dissertation, doctoral studies, and for experimental research bursary:

  1. A completed and approved research proposal module at Unisa (please note that this bursary does not cover the research proposal module).
  2. A supervisor’s report for both first-time bursary applicants and re-applying students, which recommends financial support on the basis of quality submissions (eg research chapters submitted, data analyses).
  3. Approval by the Masters and Doctoral Research Bursary Committee (MDRBC) based on academic progress, standard of work submitted, prioritization of research fields, innovative specializations, and appropriate methodology.

Please note:

  • Awards are dependent on available funding.
  • An application for funding should be submitted each year and a budget provided that does not exceed the amount stipulated per year.
  • The closing date for applications is 31 January 2020.
  • NO late and/or incomplete applications will be considered.
  • Click here for the masters and doctoral bursary guidelines.

NSFAS Funding 

If you have not received an application reference number, your NSFAS application was incomplete / not successfully submitted and will not, therefore, be evaluated.

Applications must be submitted via the NSFAS website: nsfas.org.za

Your NSFAS application will not be considered if you

  • received NSFAS funding in 2022.
  • have already completed an undergraduate degree or diploma.
  • are not South African citizens.
  • need funding for a Short Learning Certificate or Programme or a postgraduate qualification.

*Students who have completed a higher certificate and will be starting a degree/diploma qualification in 2023 must re-apply for NSFAS funding.

2023 registration

Please visit the Unisa registration website for the registration dates: www.unisa.ac.za/register

  • Returning NSFAS students who were funded in 2022 but have not yet completed their qualification: Please ensure that you are temporarily registered during Unisa’s registration period while waiting for NSFAS funding confirmation for the 2023 academic year.
  • Returning NSFAS students who received funding in 2022, have been declined for funding in 2023 but have appealed the decision: Please pay the minimum registration fee while you wait for the NSFAS appeal decision if you chose to do so.
  • First-time NSFAS applicants: Please ensure that you are temporarily registered during Unisa’s registration period while waiting for NSFAS funding confirmation. If your NSFAS application is declined or delayed by the time the registration period closes, you will be expected to find alternative funding before your registration will be activated.

If your NSFAS application is provisionally approved, you do not need to pay the minimum registration fee. Your registration will be automatically activated based on the NSFAS funding confirmation received by Unisa.

2023 appeals

Appeals for new and continuing students will be open from 20 January 2023 to 20 February 2023.

All students are required to appeal directly to NSFAS via the myNSFAS portal.

Visit www.nsfas.org.za for appeal supporting documents.


  • All NSFAS-funded students who pay the minimum registration amount to activate their registration will be refunded.
  • A refund will only be processed once NSFAS has confirmed the successful processing of registration data to Unisa.
  • An application for a refund is not necessary.

NSFAS bursaries (Funza Lushaka, Department of Military Veterans, and Department of Justice [TRC])

  • Students funded under these bursaries must renew their funding with their funders during their applicable application dates.
  • Students are encouraged to visit their funders’ web pages for application dates.


I am exceeding my permitted number of years of study – NSFAS enforces the N+2 rule. This means that students have an additional two years to complete their degree and ceases to fund a student for longer than this period. Should there be a reason for you exceeding the N+2 rule, and this reason is substantive in nature, such as a death of an immediate family member or hospitalization, please provide relevant, certified supporting documents to this effect.
Request to change programme of study – NSFAS will only fund approved courses and the N+2 rule still applies as indicated above.
Loss of bursary sponsor – If you were sponsored for your studies by another entity or person in the past, but subsequently lost this sponsorship, please provide proof of the loss of sponsorship on official letterheads. An NSFAS application form, together with all required supporting documentation, needs to be completed and submitted with this form.
Incorrect academic results submitted resulting in non-renewal of funding – If you believe your funding has not been renewed due to erroneous academic results submitted by the institution to NSFAS, please attach an official academic results transcript.
Failure to meet academic performance requirements – NSFAS is aware that there are many circumstances that may lead to students not being able to meet academic performance requirements. These may include but are not limited to, medical conditions, the death of an immediate family member, and so on. Please submit substantive documents to provide proof of these circumstances.
Other – If there are any other reasons you believe that your application meets the NSFAS requirements for funding that have not been considered above, please explain these circumstances and provide relevant supporting documentation.

Demzyporta Category: Bursaries

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