What Does The ISFAP Bursary Cover?


Access to higher education is often hindered by financial barriers, leaving thousands of students unable to pursue their dreams. If you are part of the missing middle in South Africa, then you should apply for the ISFAP bursary.


The Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme (ISFAP) bursary is a funding model that supports financially needy students that fall under the categories of “Poor” and “Missing Middle” students.

The “missing middle” refers to students who come from working-class households that do not qualify for funds from the government bursary scheme, (also known as - the National Student Financial Aid Scheme). Even though these students don't qualify for funding from NSFAS, they still cannot afford higher education.

Poor: Household income R0- R350,000
Missing Middle: Household income R350,000 - R600,000

Careers portal spoke to Sifanele Biyela who is the Regional Programme Manager ISFAP to get the latest information about the ISFAP busrary, and what the ISFAP bursary covers.

Who does ISFAP fund?

ISFAP offers financial support to first time undergraduate students registered at any of the 11 institutions ISFAP is currently partnered with.

“We fund first time university registrants. So, it has to be your first time at a tertiary institution, and you must be registered for an undergraduate degree. The bursary does not cover post graduate courses,” explains Biyela.

Who qualifies for The ISFAP Bursary?

  • Students who have household incomes of between R0 and R600 000 per annum.
  • South African citizens
  • Be applying for/registered at one of the partner universities
  • Studying towards a qualification on ISFAP's funding list

The programmes and courses selected include occupations of high demand or scarce skills that have been identified as critical to South Africa’s economic development.

Which Universities are partnered with ISFAP?

  • University of Johannesburg
  • Walter Sisulu University
  • University of Venda
  • University of KwaZulu Natal
  • University of Cape Town 
  • Nelson Mandela University
  • Stellenbosch University
  • Central University of Technology
  • Tshwane University of Technology
  • University of Pretoria
  • Wits University

ISFAP will in due course partner with all 26 Public Universities in South Africa.

How does ISFAP funding work?

According to the financial aid programme, each student will receive enough funding to cover all tuition costs as well as accommodation and travel (if the student does not have accommodation), books, meals and a stipend (living allowance).

This will be through a fully funded grant bursary. In addition, the Universities will provide students with academic support, social support, life skills training and medical support when required.

Biyela, said that one of the main aims of the programme is to help reduce the university dropout rate through the support it offers. 

"If students are supported, not only financially or in terms of academics, but if someone is there to give them that psychosocial and counselling support, if necessary, it then reduces the possibility of dropouts." Biyela adds.

The full of cost of study is broken down into the following:

  • Tuition fees
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Learning materials (calculator, textbooks, learning material)
  • Living allowance / pocket money
  • Non-academic student support (project manager; tutorial support; life support; admin support; life skills training; staff mentors).

The overall cost of funding varies per institution as ISFAP funds full cost of study. The average full cost of study per student is around R166 668.00. 

Click Here To See Full Interview With Sifanele Biyela

Find the latest bursaries, how to apply for bursaries and any other information you need on bursaries on our website.


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