How To Write A Motivation Letter For A Bursary Application

Thursday, 11 November, 2021 - 13:34
Lerato Botha
A scholarship application and pen placed on top of a laptop

The pursuit of university education is an extremely expensive one that continues to affect the South African youth’s capability for further education. However, depending on the student’s circumstances, there are a number of ways in which tertiary funding can be attained, including through applying for bursaries. However, a successful bursary application would require the inclusion of a motivation letter. The following provides a guideline for how to compile a strong motivation letter for a bursary application.



Outside of NSFAS funding and student loans, bursaries have provided an alternative means for students to fund their academic pursuits. Bursaries present an optimal funding option as they do not require that the student repay the loan.

However, in some cases, the bursar may require the funded student to work for them over a certain period of time after completing their studies. Otherwise, they may require something else along those lines that the student may have to commit to.

Nonetheless, a bursary option is a funding choice that is definitely worth the effort for application. A good motivation letter can serve to set the student apart from their competition, hence its importance within the application. 

The letter should feature the sender’s address in the right-hand corner of the page and the receiver’s address on the left-hand side under the sender’s address. This would then be followed by a formal greeting to address the receiver, i.e. Dear Sir/Madam, To whom it may concern, etc. 

Thereafter, the letter should begin with the student addressing their reason for application. This would include addressing the bursary that they would like to apply for and the qualification that they would like to pursue funding for. Other basic information regarding their qualification, such as their year of study and so on, should also be included.

The body of the letter should include the student’s past education, their past achievements, their future pursuits with regards to their education and their career, genuine motivation as to why they are deserving of the bursary, and how their degree and their educational history will support their future career pursuits.

The body will also require an honest confession of how the student plans to use the bursary money and how this money will help them with their financial situation. Reflecting from a genuine and honest stance helps to make it more personal and better reflect the student’s need for the bursary.

To end off, the student should express their gratitude towards the bursar for their time and consideration of their application and then sign their name at the end of the letter, i.e Kind Regards…, All the best…, etc.

General notes for the student to consider would be to remain succinct in their writing and ensure that their point gets across as clearly as possible. Furthermore, it is important to remain sincere and speak truthfully about their need for a bursary without adding details that may not strike the bursar as relevant.  

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What is a Bursary? A bursary is funding that is awarded to students by a tertiary institution, private organisation or government organisation to help them pay for their studies.