Mbombela – Orphans and Grade 12 pupils from poor families are being urged to apply for bursaries through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
NSFAS coordinator Dumisane Thwala said the bursaries would be offered to those who want to work for government after completing their university studies.
“These students will not be asked to pay back the fees as long as they serve a period of five years working for government. We have heard the plight from orphans and pupils from poor families nationally and their dreams can be a reality,” he added.
He said South African citizens studying for their first higher education qualification at a public university or Further Education and Training (FET) college were eligible for the bursaries.
Thwala said the NSFAS, as a government-funded loan and bursary scheme, provided access to loans at a low interest rate with reasonable repayment plans.
“Up to 40% of the loan may be converted to a bursary, depending on the student’s year end results. That amount does not need to be repaid,” he said.
Thwala said there was an all-expenses paid bursary available for those who want to study certain fields in teaching and social work. The bursaries cover everything, including accommodation.
“Only once a student completes their studies and begins earning a salary, will they be required to pay back the loan. We will also assist students in searching for jobs. We will look at their careers and will approach relevant companies to see if they can hire our members,” he said.
He said once the bursary recipients start working, the NSFAS would send them quarterly statements informing them of their payment terms.
“It will be their responsibility to keep in touch with NSFAS and start making payments for their loans once they start working,” Thwala said.
Closing dates for applications to study and for financial aid is at the end of August of the year before students begin studying.
Training officer at Mpumalanga’s Education Department, Dumisane Mandlazi, said the department had made bursaries available to prospective student teachers.
The bursaries are only available to students from Mpumalanga who are South African citizens and have passed Grade 12 and achieved marks of 60% or more for major subjects.
They may not have received any other bursary for costs covered by the department’s bursary scheme.
The deadline for applications is August 31. – Eric Mashaba, BuaNews