ISFAP university student bursary applications open this month

  • The Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme (ISFAP) has opened applications for undergraduates and postgraduates for the 2025 intake.
  • The donor-funded scheme has financially aided thousands of students reach academic success in the past.
  • Only South African citizens can apply, and only university students can receive funding help.

University students who continue to struggle with NSFAS and the turmoil that the government-funded scheme is going through should know that there are alternatives for bursary funding. One of the largest alternatives, that funds hundreds of students every year, is the Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme (ISFAP).

ISFAP has opened applications for the 2025 take-in period for both undergraduate and postgraduate students in most of the major public universities in South Africa, but it is working to increase funding opportunities to all 26 in the country.

You can find the full list of universities that are ISFAP partners here, and it is important to note that the scheme will fund certain courses at certain universities.

Unfortunately, ISFAP does not currently fund the studies of technical vocational education and training (TVET) institutions. Only university students can receive a bursary from the scheme.

While NSFAS draws its funds from a national treasury budget, and therefore from taxpayers, ISFAP students are funding from a variety of sources, including private sector forms, government institutions, international corporations, NPOs and even private individuals looking to donate.

“The funding provided by ISFAP is made available through the contributions of various donors in the public and private sectors. ISFAP will provide funding opportunities to first-year undergraduate students in 2025, but does not guarantee funding for all applicants,” the scheme writes in its application portal for 2025

This is because funding is discretionary, and is based on a number of criteria, including the availability of funding.

Other criteria include:

  • “Good enough marks to get into an ISFAP partner university for the relevant degree programme,
  • Availability of funding (universities, qualifications, demographics, etc.) will be determined by funding partner requirements,
  • That you are starting your first degree in 2025,
  • Availability of funding,
  • You are a South African citizen.”

In May, the CEO of ISFAP, Morne du Toit, offered to help NSFAS fix many of its funding systems. “What we have seen is very concerning, and unfortunately not unexpected,” Du Toit said.

“We want to see stability, we want to see an organisation that is operationally efficient, and that can deliver on the core mandate of supporting students,” he added.

Online applications are now open for both undergraduate and postgraduate students, here.


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