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How to pay for your online studies

BY: SGI|27 January 2020
BLOG| My future career, Deciding to study online

We are all scared that we will not have the necessary funds to complete a course. This week we focus on ways in which you can fund your studies. 

Most studies lead to an improvement in skill and a broadening of perspective. By increasing your knowledge and exposure, you are likely to be able to operate more effectively in your present position, or to prepare yourself for a future position in your current or in another company. Education has a very high return on investment. If you had to choose to put money in the bank or to improve your skills, it is almost always more beneficial to invest in your own ability to make better money.  

Stellenbosch Graduate Institute has solved the funding challenge in four ways

  1. You can study one micro module at a time - which allows you to budget your studies effectively. 

  2. If you convert from a micro-module to a full course, you only pay the difference between the full course price and the micro-modules completed to date. 

  3. For full courses (7 week modules + 1 year programmes) you can have a monthly payment plan. This allows you to break up your payment to a manageable size. 

  4. You can convince your company to pay for one module, and if you are successful then take pay for the next module. This allows you to show that you are willing to perform and that funding your progress is in the company's best interest. 

If you still need to break it down further then we have provided you with the details of various institutions that may be able to help you to raise funds to study. 

  1. Student loans

All of South Africa's major banks offer loans for tertiary education, both to South Africans and international students with valid study permits. To qualify for these loans, you would need a matric certificate with an exemption.

You may also need an acceptance letter from an accredited tertiary institution. Someone will have to sign the loan guarantee (often parents), and in most situations, repayments will start once you have completed your studies.

Keep in mind that every bank has different repayment conditions. You would, therefore, need to decide which bank offers the best solution for you in the long term.

Apply for a study loan at one of the following accredited financial institutions:
  1. Corporate training

An online course could be an excellent way to bridge your skill gaps to ready yourself for a new role. If you're an employee, be sure to alert your company about your desire to study. Firstly, it'll show the seriousness of your intention to up-skill yourself. Secondly, your employer might want to sponsor you as part of the company's talent management plan.

When talking to your HR manager, be sure to mention the benefits of corporate training. Benefits include: increased employee loyalty and decreased staff turnover, increased productivity, and the availability of employees with the higher-level skills required to improve business operations.

  1. External bursaries

There are various private and government-owned organisations that offer scholarships in different fields of interest. Keep in mind that some of these bursaries require you to work for the company after you have completed your course, and some are only released if you meet the eligibility criteria. You need to check if the bursary applies to you. Scholarships do not always guarantee that you will have a job after your studies.

When you apply for these bursaries, it is often a requirement to have been accepted by an accredited tertiary institution.

To view the available bursaries, visit:



Student Village

  1. Feenix and other crowdfunders

Feenix is a crowdfunding initiative created by Standard Bank that can help you access funding for your studies.

You can easily obtain funding through Feenix as there are no academic requirements. The minimum donation amount is R100 and any money received through the website is paid directly to the higher education institution of your choice. The only requirement is that you would need to be a registered student to participate.

For more information regarding Feenix, visit: https://www.feenix.org/

There are other crowdfunding solutions that you may be able to apply to get to a financing solution. This may involve you having to think carefully about what you are trying to achieve and to build your education objectives into that. You may consider KIVA, ThundaFund, StudentBackr,BursaryNetwork 

  1. Fundi

Fundi is a financial solutions organisation which specializes in student finance. You can receive monetary support through "educational funding, cashless transaction solutions, bursary fund administrations, and bursary support".

Fundi will cover you in every sphere of learning, from short courses to MBA and postgraduate studies.

The organisation also makes provision for every area of student life and is able to cover tuition, registration fees, outstanding balances, laptops, study tools, and more.

For more information, visit: https://www.fundi.co.za/educational-services/bursary-fund-administration

  1. Education Loans

Learning loans is a registered credit provider that partners with education providers in order to help working professionals further their knowledge and remain relevant in today's working environment. Their partnership with education providers allows them to offer you the best interest rates on your student loan. 

The Learning Loans team takes on all the admin around issuing a new loan. From credit vetting to document collection all you need to worry about is where you would like to study next.

For more information, visit: http://www.learningloans.co.za/

  1. For Entrepreneurs

Educating yourself should be part of your business plan. 

If you are an entrepreneur or planning on becoming one, it is extremely important to understand that the choices you make at the beginning of your venture can determine how fast or slow your organisation grows. It is therefore vital that you have the right education to assist you with all the decisions that you would have to make.

There are various institutions that will help you fund your entrepreneurial expedition and by including your education in your business plan you can increase your skill-set and grow your organisation simultaneously.   

For more information regarding funding for your entrepreneurial expedition, visit:



  1. Alternative Lenders

If you are struggling to raise money through a bank you may consider alternative-mainstream funders. These institutions often grant loans with limited security for higher interest rates.

Institutions such as RCS, African Bank and Capfin offer easy to manage loans with repayment terms from 6 to 60 months.

These institutions allow you to manage your own loan, placing you in control of your own future. Please note that the interest rates of this type of funding are often higher than traditional loans from bank and the longer the term - the more interest you pay. Payment is usually due, even while you are studying.  

For more information, visit:




  1. NSFAS

Please note that this only applies to studies at public (government) universities.

NSFAS provides financial aid to students from poor and working-class families in a sustainable manner that promotes higher and further education and training, in pursuit of South Africa's national human resource development goals.

You need to have been accepted a public university to apply for NSFAS and the timeframes for application is very important. 

When applying for NSFAS funding you should keep in mind that NSFAS does not support private higher education institutions such as Stellenbosch Graduate Institute.

You may have to consider the other options on this list if you want to complete your studies with SGI. 

For more information on NSFAS funding, visit:


  1. Students outside of South Africa

If you are outside of South Africa and you require funding for your education, the best place to inquire about funding is the organisation that you are currently employed at as Stellenbosch Graduate Institute's courses are online and can be accessed anywhere in the world. If you are not employed, you can contact your local bank and inquire about student loans.

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