Home Student Funds/Bursaries List of UCT Student Financial Aid for 2023

List of UCT Student Financial Aid for 2023


We are pleased to present to you the complete list of all 2023 financial aid offered by the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa to all needy and outstanding students.

University of Cape Town, UCT Postgraduate Fee Structure: 2024/2025

Providing funding assistance to financially needy students who are academically eligible remains one of the key priorities for the University of Cape Town (UCT). To this end, the university uses its own resources, as approved by the Council, within budget constraints. Other key funders – including the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), National Research Foundation (NRF), postgraduate bursaries linked to research programmes, South African corporate entities, non-governmental organisations, foundations, donors, alumni and university staff – provide additional contributions to increase funding opportunities for our students.

In addition to financial assistance for students, the university provides entrance and faculty scholarships annually to qualifying students. These scholarships are achievement-based and include special achievement scholarships aimed at attracting applicants from historically disadvantaged areas and schools.

At the undergraduate level, NSFAS has in recent years doubled its allocation to UCT. Despite this, and as is the case with many other universities, we have experienced some challenges with NSFAS. However, UCT has always been proactive and has worked with NSFAS to improve the administration of the scheme for the benefit of all recipients. We believe that NSFAS plays an important role and we have assisted where necessary to ensure that it meets its obligations to students.

The UCT financial aid (assistance) is listed below based on the undergraduate and postgraduate level.



1.  NSFAS funding for first-time-entering and continuing students

As of 2018 first-time-entering students who are eligible for financial aid must come from households with an annual income of no more than R350 000. For students who started their university studies before 2020, NSFAS still uses a household income of R122 000. Recognizing the confusion created by these two funding categories, UCT decided to treat all students under the R350 000 threshold equally and provide them with benefits similar to the cohort funded by NSFAS from 2018, which now includes the full cost of study.

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First-time applications for NSFAS financial aid (as well as funding renewal for students who already receive NSFAS funding) are handled centrally via NSFAS. Although the student may have applied to study at several universities, only one financial aid application directly to NSFAS is required. While this has its own challenges, including reliance on NSFAS for confirmation of funding, we appreciate the effort by NSFAS that has gone into preparations for the 2020 academic year.

2.  UCT GAP funding

UCT also offers GAP funding, which is the university’s financial assistance programme for the “missing middle” – those students who come from families with an annual income above the NSFAS threshold (R350 000 household income) but no more than R600 000. All GAP-funding applications are managed via NSFAS, which provides UCT with the data to identify eligible applicants. GAP funding is exclusively financed by UCT. Therefore, UCTʼs financial offering extends substantially above the amount that the government offers for students in financial need. Furthermore, the university makes allowances in GAP funding for families where siblings are concurrently registered for undergraduate study at UCT.

3.  UCT sibling rebate bursary

The UCT sibling rebate bursary programme provides reduced tuition costs to undergraduate siblings who do not qualify for NSFAS financial aid or GAP funding. This is for students from families with a combined annual household income of up to R750 000 with two or more undergraduate siblings at UCT at the same time. Qualifying students are eligible for a bursary equivalent to 20% of the tuition fee for the year. The sibling rebate application form is available on the UCT website.

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4.  Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme

The Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme (ISFAP) is a private-sector-funded bursary which provides financial and wrap-around support to designated “missing middle” students (ie gross family income between R350 000 and R600 000) and students studying degrees in scarce skills professions. The ISFAP programme was implemented in 2017 for students studying medicine, occupational therapy, actuarial science and engineering. It now also funds students studying chartered accounting and computer science. The programme is now in its fourth year. UCT supports all initiatives that provide financial and other assistance to students who would otherwise not have had an opportunity to realize their academic ambitions.

5.  Other funding

Funding from corporates, non-governmental institutions and sponsors is provided directly to eligible students but is administered with the assistance of UCT as the university provides all the necessary documents (ie academic transcripts and fees statements) and other information required by the funders. The requirements for academic and financial eligibility are determined by these funders and tend to vary according to the programme of study.


Applications for most 2023 postgraduate funding have closed and information on those applications still open is available.

1. Postgraduate financial support for honours, masterʼs and doctoral students

The university has made additional financial aid available on a similar basis to undergraduate financial aid, using the same income thresholds for eligibility, starting with honours in 2018 and continuing with masterʼs and doctoral students in 2019 and renewing the masterʼs and doctoral aid in 2020. Funding through excellence awards for meritorious students is also available. This initiative serves to strengthen the university’s commitment to transformation at the postgraduate level.

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2.  International and refugee students at postgraduate level

A limited number of scholarships were available to postgraduates who are residents of countries other than South Africa. These are awarded on a competitive basis with emphasis given to academic merit and to the seniority of the candidate. The scholarships do not provide full-cost support and all UCT international and refugee student scholarships should be considered supplementary. Thus, applicants must ensure that they have sufficient additional financial support for their studies. The scholarships are renewable for the duration of the course of study, subject to satisfactory progress being maintained, up to a limit of one year at honours level, two years of master’s study and three years of doctoral study.

3.  Postgraduate diplomas

Financial aid for postgraduate diplomas is dependent on donor funding. The funds received in 2020 have been depleted and UCT has not received donor funding for 2021 as yet. We will only be able to provide support if new donor funding is forthcoming. Should funds become available, students will be notified.

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