South African scholarships and bursaries are often considered the same thing in South Africa with minor differences. Students in South Africa will likely be very aware of the prevalence of bursary schemes in their country, often having to exchange time worked after graduation for payment of school costs. Even the national bursary scheme as offered by the South African national government provides only loans which, depending on academic merit, may later result in the conversation of only some debt into non-repayable bursaries. As students in America are very well aware of scholarships and very rarely knowledgeable with regards to bursaries, students in South Africa will likely know much about bursary schemes but be very lacking on information regarding scholarship opportunities. Despite this difference in balance with regards to non-repayable funding, students in South Africa do have a robust series of South African scholarships to which they may apply.
For those students who are not interested in working at a particular business after graduation, or do not want to build up debt through national loans or bursaries should consider applying to South African scholarship programs available around the country. Though there are a fair number of programs available, a disproportionate number of these South African scholarships are available to post graduate learners attempting to earn a master’s or doctoral degree in their field. Also important to know is that many South African scholarships are available specifically through individual college departments and are considered highly competitive. Students interested in these programs should understand immediately that trying to get into an available program will require exceptional dedication and a high standard of academic history.
A good example of a college department providing South African scholarships is the Biological Invasions program offered by the Department of Botany and Zoology at Stellenbosch University. This South African scholarship has only six positions available for interested applicants – three honors students, two Masters of Science, one PhD student and one post doctoral applicant. Developed to help in the Early Detection and Rapid Response Program these research oriented scholarships will bring students up to date on topics such as GIS mapping, taxonomy, population modeling, and evolutionary biology. All applicants are expected to be enthusiastic about their field and prepared to do intense research in the field. The scholarship provides enough money to cover both living expenses and university costs. In order to apply for this South African scholarship students will need to submit a research thesis indicating what relating to the Early Detection and Rapid Response Program they are interested in researching. The selection committee will consider all applications and make a decision based on the merit of submitted proposals.
The Canon Collins Trust provides a scholarship for students entering graduate school on almost any topic so long the student is able to describe how the study of a particular topic will help develop South Africa. This widely applicable South African Scholarship is a great way for students entering graduate education with an interest in helping in community development find additional funding for school. All South African students entering graduate school are eligible to apply for this program. In order to apply to this South African scholarship students will need to provide an official copy of their school transcripts, a small photo, two sealed reference letters from two professors or a single teacher and an employer. In order to get access to the award, however, applicants will need to capably explain how their education is going to aid in the development of South Africa. This can of course be tricky for students studying something like Literature, but certainly can be done. Applicants should explore what their interests are – are they interested in building reading in communities, for instance? By adequately explaining not only how a particular pursuit can be used to develop the country but also how an individual student will be applying that knowledge when they graduate will be a massive boon to any application. Currently applications are not open for 2011, but students should pay attention to the website because the program is expected to open again for applicants on April 1. At this time a deadline will be announced.