ISFAP bursary monthly allowance


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ISFAP refers to the Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme which provides bursaries to students who meet the requirements. ISFAP was established as a funding model to sustainably cater for the higher education needs and costs of South Africa’s poor and middle-class students

The ISFAP bursary requirements include being a South African citizen, coming from households with an annual income falling between R0 and R600 000 and are registered within the universities and courses that ISFAP partners with.

ISFAP focuses on providing funding for lower-income and missing middle students who have completed matric so that they can receive a tertiary education. Students are funded based on financial need and academic achievement.

In addition, the programme also aims to fast track South Africa’s skills production for the 21st century by funding the higher education costs of mainly students studying towards a career in Occupations of High Demand (OHDs), which have been identified as critical to South Africa’s economic development by the Human Resources Development Council (HRDC). These include Actuaries, Accountants, Engineers, Medical Doctors, Pharmacists and Prosthetists. 

What is the "Missing middle"?

“Poor” and “Missing Middle” students are defined based on the household income of the applying student. The household income bands that qualify under “Poor” and “Missing Middle” are:
Poor: R0- R350000
Missing Middle: R350000 - R600000

ISFAP plays a huge role in solving the funding challenges faced by “poor” and “missing middle” students, as well as in addressing other challenges which South Africa faces, such as graduate employability.
 Through the proposed public-private partnership; ISFAP is an indication of the positive work that can be done when government and the private sector come together. The proposed PPP will see government be able to work to solve an issue of national importance (fees for poor and middle students) while giving business a sound initiative into which to invest funds that contribute to the future of their workforce.

Some of the challenges they want to address include:

  • Reducing the high dropout rate of poor and working class students in the higher education and training sector 
  • Improving the employability of funded graduates 
  • Improving the country’s skills profile, especially in occupations of high demand 
  • Improving the partnership between government, the private sector/business and higher education institutions in supporting poor and “missing middle” students.

ISFAP Qualifying Criteria

  • A household means test is done for all applying students
  • Academic criteria and registration, which vary per institution but will include:
  • A National Benchmarking Test for some institutions (academic and behavioral strength)
  • Matric results
  • Funder constraints (that meet individual funder objectives) which will be applied to students applying

It is important to note that applying for an ISFAP bursary does not in any way guarantee that you will be selected for funding. There is a strict selection process based on merit and funding is limited.

Which tertiary institutions has ISFAP partnered?

ISFAP has partnered with the following public universities/institutions and has representation in all these institutions:

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

ISFAP says that the above-mentioned institutions have been chosen:

  • to ensure a mix between rural-based and urban institutions;
  • because they have larger proportions of missing middle students;
  • because they offer qualifications in the pilot’s chosen fields of study;
  • based on amount of limited funding which could be raised mainly from the private sector for the pilot.

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

Which Courses Does ISFAP Cover?

The areas of study funded by ISFAP vary for each institution. However, they do  align with the skills most needed by the Country under “Occupations of High Demand” as defined by the Department of Higher Education. Some of these courses include:

ISFAP funds several courses at multiple institutions including Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Actuarial Science, and many more. We have all the information on which courses they will pay your tuition fees for, as well as the higher education institutions that they have partnered with.

ISFAP Bursary Allowances

Part of the ISFAP bursary is that you get various forms of an ISFAP monthly allowance. ISFAP bursary allowance is a great help to students with ISFAP offering other social support services to their students as well. Not only does ISFAP cover your tuition fees, but they also provide monthly allowances that cover books and stationary, transportation, student accommodation and a living allowance. 

Additional support ISFAP Offers:

  • Full university Fees, paid in full
  • Accommodation
  • Books
  • Meals Stipend
  • Cash allowance
  • Academic (tutorials; academic development & extended programmes)
  • Social support
  • Life skills training
  • Mentoring (first year experience)
  • Medical support (psycho-social support)
  • Access to dedicated programme managers
  • Use of an online student platform  to track individual academic progress

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.

ISFAP Application Process

The ISFAP closing date is usually at the end of October, with the application process opening up a few months before.

It is best to get your application in as soon as you can so that you have a better chance of securing a bursary and furthering your studies. Luckily, we have all the information you may need to complete your application form effortlessly.

The application process for financial funding from ISFAP entails:

  • Apply and get accepted at your University of choice.
  • Assess if you qualify based on the University you have been accepted at and then check against Universities we have partnered with.
  • Assess if you qualify based on ISFAP funded degrees/programmes at University we have partnered with.
  • Check your e-mails regularly once you have started your application process for further engagement and application status update.

Where does ISFAP get its funds from?

ISFAP funding is being raised from:

  • Non-profit organisations;
  • Government institutions;
  • Development finance institutions;
  • Foundations and Private sector;
  • Local and international donors;
  • Private individuals.

Our ISFAP Playlist On YouTube

You can also visit our ISFAP playlist on the Careers Portal YouTube Channel for a comprehensive guide on who ISFAP is, what they do, how funding works and how to track tour ISFAP application, as well as much more helpful information on the funding scheme.

More Information On ISFAP

Careers Portal brings you all the ISFAP information you need such as ISFAP consent form, ISFAP login, ISFAP bursary login and the ISFAP student portal login. We also give you guidance on how to submit your ISFAP bursary application.

You can also find out which undergraduate studies and postgraduate studies they fund.

Keep scrolling to find out all you need to know about ISFAP bursaries.


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