Student Loans

Student Loans


Where can I get a student loan?
South African citizens have two options when applying for student loans:


1. National student financial aid scheme
NSFAS is a government-run scheme providing financial aid to students from poor and working class families. In order to qualify, you need to be enrolled in a public South African university and have a good academic track record. There are no collateral or sponsor requirements to be met, and you only have to start repaying the loan once you start earning an income. The size of the repayments will be based on your salary. A large percentage of the loan can be converted into a bursary for students with a 100% pass rate. Such a pass rate would result in a 40% rebate – in other words, you only have to pay back 60% of the loan.


2. Banks
Private institutions such as ABSA, FNB, Nedbank, Standard Bank and other independent credit providers also offer affordable student loans to South African citizens, as well as to foreign students with valid passports and study permits.
A student loan from a bank will help finance your education at public or private tertiary institutions.
Loan amounts offered by banks can vary from between R4 000 and R60 000 per year, depending on the qualification.

What you need to know

  • You can’t apply for a loan before enrolling at the university.
  • Students need to reapply for the loan every year of study after registration – and not once for the duration of the entire time of study.
  • Many banks require that a guarantor/sponsor apply on behalf of a full-time student. The guarantor needs to be financially secure and have a good credit history. They will be responsible for making the interest payments while the student is still studying.
  • Banks usually recommend that you take out a loan protection plan to cover the outstanding balance in the event of death of disability.
  • Some banks prefer paying the educational institution and accommodation directly, only transferring a small amount directly to the student’s bank account for books or other learning supplies.
  • In the event that the student does not complete their study, the repayments will start immediately.
  • The loan amount is based on the individual needs of the student and on the disposable income of the guarantor.
  • Interest rates will depend on the guarantor’s credit score.
  • Repayment terms will be fixed in advance.
  • Student loans can affect your credit score so you need to make your repayments on time



  • Full-time students only need to start repaying the loan once they have completed their studies. Students who are required to complete internships, articles or do community service before qualifying are granted a repayment grace period.
  • Part-time students are required to make monthly payments by debit order while they are still studying


What do you need to apply?

Both students and their guarantors need to provide certain documents to apply for a loan.

Required documents for students include:

  • Barcoded SA identity document
  • Matric results, or latest academic transcripts
  • Proof of life insurance cover
  • Invoice of study related fees and costs
  • Proof of current residential address


Required documents for guarantors include:

  • Barcoded SA identity document
  • Proof of earnings/payslips
  • Three months’ bank statements
  • Proof of life insurance cover in case of death or disability
  • Proof of current residential address
  • Income and expenditure statement
  • Declaration of marital status


Remember that education is expensive, but it will give you a head-start in life. Be wise and compare many different student loan offers to ensure that you get the best loan for you.