UNISA Bursaries: The University of South Africa Merit Bursaries

unisa bursaries

The University of South Africa, commonly referred to as UNISA is one of the largest and most reputed distance education institutions in Africa. Due to the high cost of education in South Africa, UNISA also provides financial support to academically deserving students who struggle to pay for their studies. One such financial assistance mechanism is the UNISA merit bursary, which is open to all registered UNISA students. This article will provide an overview of the UNISA merit bursary, including its eligibility criteria, the application process, and required documentation.

UNISA Merit Bursary

The UNISA merit bursary is a financial award that is meant to recognize and reward academically deserving students who have achieved a minimum average of 75% in their previous year of study. The bursary is strictly available to South African citizens who are formally registered for undergraduate or postgraduate degree programs at UNISA in any discipline. This award only covers tuition fees and prescribed textbooks and does not cover accommodation, living expenses, or any other related costs. Additionally, the award is subject to the availability of funding, and there is no guarantee that all eligible students will receive it.

Merit Bursary Criteria

To qualify for the UNISA merit bursary, there are several eligibility criteria that a student must meet. Firstly, the applicant must have achieved an average of 75% or above in their previous year of study. The bursary is open to all South African citizens who are formally registered for undergraduate or postgraduate degree programs at UNISA in any discipline. Students must provide proof of financial need or evidence of belonging to the missing middle group with an annual family income of R600,000 or lower. Furthermore, students must register for a maximum of five modules per semester and the equivalent for year courses.

70% of the available funding is reserved for students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds who have achieved an average of 75% or above. The bursary is limited to South African citizens only, and first-year students do not qualify for the merit award. Additionally, students who cancel their registration or deregister will be liable to repay any funding for the canceled or deregistered modules. Students who do not achieve an average of 75% the year following the bursary award will not be eligible for the bursary in the subsequent year.

Application Procedure & Required Documentation

Applications for the UNISA merit bursary have closed. The next application period will be communicated via UNISA’s official website and social media platforms. The application process is relatively simple, and students are required to submit the following documents to the Directorate: Student Funding:

• Proof of household income
• Academic Record
• Copy of ID
• Parents’ ID (for dependent applicants)

Funding is awarded based on the academic performance of students, and successful candidates will be notified by whichever means necessary and will be required to sign a bursary acceptance form. Students who receive the bursary award and later find employment are encouraged to make monthly or annual donations to the UNISA bursary program voluntarily.

Other UNISA Bursaries

Apart from the UNISA merit bursary, UNISA offers several other bursaries aimed at supporting students from different faculties and degree programs. These include:

  1. National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) Bursary: NSFAS bursaries are awarded to academically deserving students who face financial difficulty in paying their tuition fees.
  2. Postgraduate Merit Bursary: The postgraduate merit bursary is available to students who are enrolled in a postgraduate degree program and have demonstrated academic excellence in their respective fields.
  3. College Bursaries: UNISA’s colleges offer bursaries to students based on their academic performance and level of financial need.
  4. Private Sector and NGO Bursaries: UNISA also partners with private companies, philanthropic organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide bursaries to deserving students based on different criteria.


UNISA is committed to providing equal opportunities for all students and recognizes the challenges that financially disadvantaged students experience. Therefore, the UNISA merit bursary, along with other UNISA bursaries, is aimed at rewarding and supporting academically deserving students by providing financial support to meet the cost of tuition fees and prescribed textbooks. Interested students should visit UNISA’s official website and social media platforms for the latest information on bursaries, eligibility criteria, and application procedures.

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5 thoughts on “UNISA Bursaries: The University of South Africa Merit Bursaries

  1. I am already registered for teaching foundation phase and paid my registration fee, but now I am stuck to pay the balance as I am not working and willing to change my life through completing my degree.

  2. Im 2nd year student in the field of B.a criminology.im stuck bcos of money im not working.im temporarily registered at unisa.i need money so that my registration will be finalized.

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