Tertiary education is expensive in South Africa – registration, tuition, accommodation, study material, and food don’t come cheap. Each year, we see a lot of people who aspire to further their studies but, fail to do so due to lack of funds while some don’t qualify for bursaries or scholarships.

    A student loan might not be the best option as you still need to pay the money back as you study or when you conclude studies with interest added but, it does come in handy when all other options fail, and you need to study.

    Reputable financial institutions like banks and independent credit providers do offer study loans. Following are some of the best student loan options in South Africa that you may consider.

    Nothing is as frustrating as not being able to pay off your debt as a student. Come mid-term when everybody else gets their results, you are sitting there wondering whether you passed or failed.

    While sitting at home binge-watching a series, you suddenly receive that email that confirms your fears, telling you, you are coming back earlier than everybody else to write supplementary exams. But that’s not even the worst part.

    What is worse is you don’t even know how badly you failed the exam because your results are not available to you. That right there validates the importance of student loans.

    No student deserves to suffer the wrath of knowing how well they did. Imagine passing all your modules with distinctions and only finding out years later when you can pay tuition how well you did. The chance of celebrating with your mates is taken away from you because the admissions office is not that nice.

    They will not share your results with you even if you roll on the floor crying. That’s okay though because there are solutions in place to avoid experiencing this ordeal. Let us discuss student loans and how they come through for a lot of South African pupils.

    The best student loans available to you include:

    Fundi

    Fundi is South Africa’s leading Education Finance specialist. It provides three of the four types of loans to prospective students who are struggling financially. The subsidies cover tuition, registration and exam costs, textbooks and other study-related supplies, as well as accommodation.

    To access the funds, no deposits are necessary. However, you should maintain it as a benefactor by paying the set monthly fee.

    You can apply by filling in the call me form.

    Absa

    Students have access to low-interest student loans through ABSA. The package includes tuition fees, study materials, housing, and other study-related costs. It offers a complete tertiary experience. As a beneficiary, you will only pay interest for the first 12 months before beginning to pay back the capital on the 13th.

    To be considered, you must be a South African citizen or stay in SA permanently earning more than R3 000 per month. The loan can be in the name of a parent, sponsor/guardian, or a part-time student who is employed full-time, all with proof of income.

    The student loan can be taken out by a student studying full-time or part-time at any of the following institutions:

    • University, university of technology, agricultural college, technical vocational education, and training college (TVET).
    • Any private study institution registered at a Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) and accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).
    • Online study courses accredited by the United States Department of Education or the UK Government of Higher Education Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). The borrower is required to be based in South Africa.
    • Aviation training from an approved training organisation (ATO) which has been approved by SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA).

    To apply you will need a valid SA ID, proof of residence, three months’ payslips or bank statements, proof of study (in the form of an acceptance letter or proof of registration), and proof of course costs for the year of study. If you will be doing your second year or third, proof of the previous year’s academic results is required to confirm that you are permitted to continue with your studies.

    You can pay off the loan by either making capital and interest repayments or repaying interest-only for a period of 12 months.

    You can apply at any Absa branch, Absa Student bureau, or call 0860 100 372.

    Nedbank

    Nedbank provides funding for interns and full-time students. Your guarantor must agree to pay the loan’s monthly interest for you to qualify as a beneficiary. You will begin repaying your loan, capital, and interest after your studies are complete.

    Part-time students may get the loan through Nedbank but under different conditions. Once you start your education, you will have to pay the loan and interest as a part-time student. Depending on your credit score, Nedbank offers competitive interest rates.  The Nedbank student loan covers books, equipment, living expenses, and tuition.

    To apply you will need your latest exam results, proof of registration at a tertiary institution that is accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), an invoice or statement for tuition fees, textbook, and accommodation. The person responsible for paying off the loan will need a Nedbank transactional account as their main account (if they don’t have one, it will be opened), a valid ID, latest payslip, and three months’ bank statement if they don’t bank with Nedbank.

    One can apply by filling in their details on the call back form and downloading the application form. A consultant will call you back and assist with completing your application. Alternatively, you may visit any Nedbank branch with all the required documents.

    First National Bank

    First National Bank offers personalised student loans of up to R300 000 that can be used for tuition fees, accommodation, equipment, other study material, and devices.

    To qualify for the loan, you must be 18 years and older, be registered with a recognized tertiary institution, a permanent SA resident, and the principal debtor must be permanently employed or self-employed.

    To apply you can complete the call me back form and a consultant will contact you within 3 business days. If you are an FNB client, proof of enrolment from the education institution/proof of registration and student ID will be needed.

    The student loan has a personalised interest rate from a minimum of 6.50% (prime less 0.5%) and a maximum of 11.50% (prime plus 4.5%) which are determined by your credit/risk profile.

    The bank also offers flexible payment plans wherein you pay only interest and fees for a 12-month period and then start repaying interest, fees, charges, and capital thereafter.

    Standard Bank

    Standard Bank student loan has no maximum limit on the amount of money it offers for tuition. It can pay up to R60 000 for accommodation and R20 000 for textbooks and equipment.

     You can get an online quote by completing the form after clicking on Do I Qualify? Once the online application is pre-approved, you will need to have your documents ready, this includes:

    • Acceptance letter or proof of registration from institution
    • Proof of costs for tuition, accommodation, textbooks, and/or equipment
    • Proof of latest academic results
    • If you are in matric, your final National Senior Certificate results are required to complete your application
    • ID documents (student & surety)
    • Proof of residence not older than 3 months (student & surety)
    • 3 months’ payslips (surety)
    • 3 months’ bank statements for non-Standard Bank clients (surety)

    To finalize the process, you should visit your nearest branch within 7 days if you applied via “Do I Qualify?”

    If you are a full-time student while studying, your surety will be required to pay interest and fees only. The loan repayment term ranges from a minimum of 12 months to a maximum of 72 months. Interest rates are personalised ranging from a minimum of 7.25%* (prime interest rate) to a maximum of 13.25%.

    If your loan is approved tuition will be paid directly to the institution, accommodation fees will be paid directly into the landlord’s account, Textbooks and equipment will be paid directly into the surety’s transactional account or into the account of the student if they are self-assured.

    Sanlam

    The student’s needs as well as those of their parents and legal guardians are taken into account when Sanlam offers student loans. The package includes a more adaptable payback schedule. You can only start worrying about it as a student once you have finished your studies. In contrast to personal loan interest rates, Sanlam student loans have a reduced interest rate.

    Realize your dream of studying further! But, before you settle for any loan do proper research, and decide on an option that will be more convenient for you. You may also apply for bursaries that are relevant to your field of study.

    Not having the right financial assistance can really slow down or entirely kill a student’s educational dreams. Research is however extremely important to find a financial institution that will cater to all your educational needs. I hope this guideline helps with the perfect student loans because money cannot be the reason you do not get that degree.

     

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