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Stellenbosch University launches new collateral-backed study loan application portal for financially burdened
Author: Petro Mostert
Published: 04/01/2024

Stellenbosch University (SU) launched a new, dedicated study loan application portal aimed at addressing the financial challenges faced by National Student Financial Aid Scheme- (NSFAS-) funded students, and students from the 'missing middle' income group.

“The University has collaborated with student finance facilitator Student Hero and consulted with leading South African banks and the financial service providers Fundi and Manati, to explore the viability of collateral-backed student loans," says Lerato Mkhabela, Deputy Director at SU's Centre for Undergraduate Bursaries and Loans (CUBL).

She says a couple of the banks and financial service providers are currently developing financial collateral loan options and SU envisages implementing these solutions in a phased approach from this year, for completion by June 2024.

Why this financial support initiative?

“The initiative arose in response to the 2023 accommodation allowance cap of R45 000 per annum imposed on NSFAS-funded students, which resulted in a shortfall on their student accounts. There was also a need for funding for the missing middle group (a student from a home where the household income is between R350 000 and R600 000 per year; or if more than one student in the home is at a university, then between R600 000 and R1 million per year). SU recognised the importance of accessible and flexible financial support to ensure that every student can pursue their academic goals without undue financial burden," said Mkhabela.

Who are the loan providers?

According to Mkhabela, the University is currently engaged in discussions with prominent banks to provide these collateral-backed student loans. Product development is in progress and the loans will be available to students as soon as these processes have concluded. Additionally, partnerships with financial services providers such as Fundi and Manati further diversify the options available to students.

What types of loans are available?

“The application process provides a single platform to assist with various funding options. Some banks offer specialised loans tailored to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) study programmes, requiring no collateral. Students who do not qualify for this type of loan will have the opportunity to benefit from collateral-backed loans provided by the University in collaboration with the relevant bank or financial institution as soon as these become available."

Mkhabela says implementation follows a phased approach, commencing in January and with June 2024 earmarked as the month of completion.

What is the loan application process?

Undergraduate SU students can apply for these study loans through the University's bursaries and loans website. The online application process mirrors the Finance division's 2024 SU Funding Opportunities, enabling a seamless experience for applicants. The University remains committed to the application process to ensure students can easily access the financial support they need. More information on the various loan options is also available on the website.

Who should apply for a study loan?

Stellenbosch University encourages undergraduate students who are currently funded by NSFAS* – or who have applied for NSFAS funding for 2024 – and current undergraduates who fall in the missing middle household income group to apply for a collateral-backed study loan via this link.

*NSFAS financial eligibility criteria are that the student must come from a home where the household income is less than R350 000 per year, or for a student living with a disability, then not more than R600 000 per year




Petro Mostert