How Does a Bursary Differ From a Student Loan?

Unlock the funds you need! Discover the differences between a bursary and a student loan, and find the best option for your needs.
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Representative example: a R50 000 loan at an interest rate of 24.5% per annum plus a once-off initiation fee of R1 207.50 (added to the loan amount in this example) and a monthly admin fee of R69.00, over 72 months would have a total cost of R 103 155.57.

The maximum annual interest rate including fees is 27.5%. Repayment terms can range from 1 - 72 months.

MyLoan is an online loan broker and not a lender. Our service is free and we work with NCR licensed lenders in South Africa. Interest rates charged by lenders can start as low as 20% APR, including an initiation and service fee determined by the lender. The interest rate offered depends on the applicants’ credit score and other factors at the lenders’ discretion.

When it comes to financing higher education, various options are available, including bursaries and student loans. Understanding the difference between these two forms of financial assistance is essential for students and their families. This text will explore how a bursary differs from a student loan, highlighting each option’s key characteristics and implications. By clarifying these distinctions, individuals can make informed decisions regarding their educational funding and pave the way for a successful academic journey. Let’s delve into the nuances of bursaries and student loans and discover which option may fit your specific circumstances and aspirations.

Understand Student Loans

A student loan is a financial resource that empowers individuals to pursue higher education. It provides the necessary funds to cover tuition fees, accommodation, textbooks, and living expenses. Unlike bursaries and scholarships, a student loan requires repayment after completing studies. It allows students to invest in their education, opening doors to new possibilities and helping them achieve their academic and career aspirations. Find further information about student loans, the application process and potential loan amounts on MyLoan. MyLoan quotes loans from as little as R500 to as much as R350000, depending on the lender. Assessment of your loan application can take between minutes and 48 hours.

What is a Bursary Loan?

A bursary is a form of financial assistance that is awarded to students based on various criteria, such as academic achievement, financial need, or a combination of both. Unlike a student loan, a bursary does not need to be repaid. Institutions, organisations, or government agencies often award bursaries to help students overcome financial barriers and pursue educational goals. They can cover various expenses, including tuition fees, textbooks, accommodation, or living costs. As a result, bursaries play a vital role in making education more accessible and equitable for students from diverse backgrounds.

Where can I Find a Bursary?

A few online bursary platforms, such as Careerwise and Studytrust, manage corporate bursaries. With these platforms, you can create an application, and the bursary administrators will match your details to an appropriate bursary. Alternatively, you can apply directly to companies for corporate bursaries or the government for provincial or municipal bursaries. Finally, if you want to look more into bursaries, you can find Bursary adverts on websites such as or through your educational institution’s financial aid office.

The Difference Between Bursaries and Student Loans

Understanding the difference between bursaries and student loans is essential when considering financial assistance for higher education. While both options aim to provide support, they differ significantly regarding repayment and eligibility.

A bursary is a form of financial aid that does not require repayment. Instead, it is typically awarded based on various criteria, such as academic performance, financial need, or specific demographic factors. Institutions, organisations, or government bodies often provide bursaries to help students overcome financial barriers. For example, they can cover tuition fees, textbooks, accommodation, or other educational expenses. By alleviating the financial burden, bursaries offer students the opportunity to pursue their education without worrying about future debt obligations.

On the other hand, a student loan is a borrowed sum of money that must be repaid with interest after completing studies, or the lender defers capital repayments for 12 months or until the student graduates. Unlike bursaries, loans involve a contractual agreement and require regular payments over a specified period. Student loans are available from lending institutions, government agencies, or educational institutions. The loan can cover tuition fees, living expenses, accommodation and other educational costs. While loans provide immediate financial support, they can also create a long-term financial responsibility that borrowers must manage after graduation. But it allows investing in your education now while building a solid foundation for your future.

Should I Apply for a Bursary or Student Loan?

Choosing between a bursary and a student loan depends on individual circumstances and preferences. Bursaries offer a financial boost without the burden of repayment, making them a valuable resource for those who qualify. Student loans, while requiring repayment, can provide more funding and help bridge the financial gap when other options are limited. It is crucial for students to carefully consider their financial situation, academic goals, and plans before deciding which option suits them best. Exploring available bursaries and loan programs, understanding the terms and conditions, and seeking guidance from financial aid offices can help make an informed decision regarding financial assistance for higher education.