Financial Assistance

Financial Aid

Financial aid is comprehensive funding based on approved costs of study. The most financially needy students could pay as little as R1 100 or less towards their cost of study each year.

NSFAS will allocate loan funding to eligible students based on their cost of study to the maximum loan set for the year. However, many students have a significant shortfall. UCT assist these financially needy students with a bursary to cover the shortfall.

Please see the examples tab for details of how the UCT administered bursaries help cover the funding shortfall.

Eligibility criteria for financial aid

UCT will receive from NSFAS the relevant NSFAS financial aid application information to enable us to determine whether you meet the UCT criteria for financial aid, to assist with covering your shortfall.

All applications are checked against the following eligibility criteria:

  • South African citizenship or permanent residency (conditions apply)
  • First undergraduate qualification
  • Financial eligibility
  • Applicant must not be under administrative order

Expected Family Contribution towards Studies

NSFAS uses a national test to determine eligibility and also the EFC. The EFC is the only amount that you and your family/guardian need to contribute towards the approved cost of attendance. Your cost of study could be a R100 000 (tuition, residence and books), but you may only need to pay R1 100 towards that cost. The balance could be covered in a NSFAS loan and UCT administered bursaries.

The EFC replaces the initial upfront payment required for registration and must be paid before the end of June.

Note: No student should pay more than their EFC, unless they incur costs not covered by financial aid policy.

How do I apply?

Use the link below to the NSFAS website to register and proceed to complete your on-line application.

NSFAS Online Application

How will my financial eligibility be assessed?

NSFAS will use the National Means Test and your previous year?s academic or NSC results to determine eligibility for funding.

When will I know if I am eligible?

The outcome of your application will be communicated by NSFAS once your eligibility has been assessed after the NSC results have been released.

Will all my costs be covered if I am successful?

NSFAS funding is insufficient to meet the cost of tertiary study and UCT will provide additional assistance to those that are eligible. UCT will send a confirmation of UCT top- up funding once NSFAS confirms eligibility for NSFAS funding. You will only be required to pay the UCT Expected Family Contribution.

Applicants that are not NSFAS eligible may be considered for by UCT for UCT GAP funding.


The NSFAS loan is interest free whilst you are studying and requires no surety. The loans need to be repaid once you find employment. In addition NSFAS provides up to 40% conversion of the loan to a bursary depending on your annual academic achievement at University. Further information on NSFAS loans is available at

Students that are offered NSFAS/UCT loans have the same loan terms and conditions.

Can I hold other awards along with the UCT financial assistance?

Funds are limited, and we encourage students to look for other sources of funding to cover their costs. You are obliged to inform UCT of any other financial assistance or sponsorship that you receive.

Funds released are used to support other financially needy students.

Is UCT & NSFAS financial assistance renewable?

Eligible students are automatically considered for renewal based on academic performance each year and the number of years of study. No student will be funded for longer than the minimum duration of the programme plus 2 years.