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3 Ways to study for free in South Africa…

Source: Brojid World

Not government, nor any of our South African universities currently know how to lower the fees of tertiary education without compromising on quality. Neither do I. So if you are hoping for a miracle article linking you a magical site where your dream university degree in medicine, architecture or engineering can be obtained free of charge, then you are wasting your time. However, if you are open minded and willing to grab any opportunity to study, this little article may help you.

Here are some ways of making free (or at least low cost) tertiary education possible for yourself, as a South African citizen…

1. If you have reliable internet access, many SA universities offer a variety of free online short courses…

Though not a full course, the free Future Learn online short courses offered at UCT can look very impressive on a CV. All lessons and learning material are made available at no cost to the student. However, to prove you’ve completed the course you will need to buy a Statement of Participation certificate at the end. The statement of participation costs about $30, which is considerably more doable than the price of any short course where you attend lectures in person.

UCTs short courses change from time to time, but there is generally a good variety of subjects to choose from. Click here to see if anything available currently tickles your fancy.

transparent_straight_logoIf UCT’s free online courses don’t get you excited, click here to see what Wits has to offer with their WitsX courses. These courses work in exactly the same way as those offered by UCT. You just pay your small Statement of Participation fee to a different company.

wits-logo-colloquial-extended-full-colour1.jpg2. The  University of Stellenbosch may let you complete a qualification in Business for free if you’re an entrepreneur living and working in the Western Cape…

If you never had the chance to study business, but somehow managed to start one and keep it alive, the University of Stellenbosch Business School’s Small Business Academy might be the place for you. The USB SBA offers an NQF level 5, one year fully subsidized business course to business owners who meet their criteria. Click Here to find out if that is you.


3. You can always apply for a grant of a scholarship…

NMMU funds deserving undergraduate and postgraduate students  with bursaries, some administered directly by the university, some by donor organizations. Before you get discouraged, “deserving” doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have an 95% average achieved through studying by candle light on one meal a day. Though, that would probably also qualify!

Criteria differs for each bursary. For the NMMU Honours Bursary, students need atleast 55% in their major subject to qualify for post-grad funding, and be must be SA or SADAC citizens.  For the National Research Foundation (NRF) Free-standing Honours/BTech Scholarship, NMMU requires a 65% aggregate for final undergrad year subjects, and you need to be an SA citizen. Click here for more information.


If NMMU can’t help you, they suggest paying a visit to NSFAS for a bursary, or at least a loan until the big bucks begin rolling in.



About Anna Greenfield (30 Articles)
Anna is a creative writer with a background in radio and theatre. One day, when she becomes a proper adult, she will direct and produce movies and have a big boat and a little baby with her dashing (and also height appropriate) husband Dean.

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