What is financial aid/ funding?
Financial aid is money awarded to students who are financially needy and academically competent, or have a high level of academic achievement. The money can be used to pay for study-related costs as determined by the donor such as tuition fees, accommodation, meals, and books.
Funding is always connected to academic competence or achievement since donors want to be sure that their money is spent on students who take their education seriously. Even financially needy students must be academically competent to qualify for financial aid.
Types of funding
Bursaries are awarded to students by companies, NGOs, government departments, and SETAs. These awards usually have set criteria (such as financial need, academic merit, field of study, gender, place of birth). The donor decides what study-related costs will be covered. Students who successfully complete their studies usually don’t have to repay a bursary, but some bursaries do include a service contract with the company granting the bursary.
A loan is an amount of money given to a student on the condition that the student will repay the money over a set period of time once they graduate. The student signs a legal agreement with the lending company and in most cases a guarantor (someone to repay the money should the student fail to do so) is needed. If a student or their guarantor fails to repay the loan, legal action can be taken against them by the company or organisation to retrieve the money.
A scholarship is an amount of money granted to a student based on past academic excellence. It is usually only granted for academic merit. Scholarships usually have no employment conditions, repayments or general conditions attached.