How to fund your studies – College SA
Distance learning

How to fund your studies

4 min read -
By Jacqui Smit - Copywriter for Optimi

Studying, whether full-time or part-time, whether a short course through a college or a degree through a university, can be very expensive. Many students often don’t have the financial resources from savings or family and friends to fund their studies, which can be discouraging. However, there are multiple ways to accumulate the money needed to pay for your studies.

Funding options

1)      Part-time or full-time employment

Quite a few students choose to get a job before or during their studies to earn money and pay for their education. In particular, many adults work while they are studying, having already been working before they choose to study. This is a great way to earn the income necessary to pay for studies. It’s not always necessary to be working a full-time office job to earn this income – many students work entry-level jobs or shift jobs – such as at a restaurant or call centre – to help make ends meet while studying. Part-time jobs are a good choice for students as they allow for the time and flexibility needed to complete their studies. While this kind of flexibility isn’t strictly necessary for distance learning – as there are no set class timetables – it can be useful in that it gives students the time they need to do their assignments and study for tests and examinations.

2)      Student or bank loan

Many students choose to take out a study loan from a bank, or a regular bank loan to help pay for their studies. However, there are some important differences between the two kinds of loans that students must consider before applying for their loan. While loans can provide a short-term solution to funding studies, applicants must bear in mind that these loans will need to be paid off. Applicants will need to sign surety so that should the student fail to pay back the loan, another person – parent, guardian, friend etc. – can cover the payments. Fortunately, banks tend to have multiple repayment conditions and options, so you can choose which loan will work best for you and your particular needs.

Study loan

Many – if not all – banks offer study loans, which are designed specifically for funding studies. However, the criteria the loan applicant needs to meet can be quite strict. For example, the applicant must have South African citizenship or, in the case of foreign nationals, a valid study permit. And while study loans do also cover studies at a private institution, many will cover studies only at universities, as opposed to colleges or technikons.

Bank loan

If you’re looking to study a diploma or a short course – which are often unaccredited – or part-time, you may not qualify for a student loan. In this case, generic bank loans can be a suitable alternative, as they don’t have the strict application criteria that student loans do. Again, bear in mind the repayment terms and conditions.

3)      Online fundraisers/crowdfunding

In recent years, more people have been using online fundraisers and crowdfunding to finance personal costs, such as medical bills or college fees. While this option isn’t as popular in South Africa as it is in America or the UK, popularity is growing. There are multiple avenues for this funding option, the most common of which is BackaBuddy. Through BackaBuddy, sponsors can donate to your costs either anonymously or not, and their donations go to your bank account, with BackaBuddy charging a service fee.

Feenix is another crowdfunding option in South Africa. It is an online fundraiser created and managed by Standard Bank for the sole purpose of helping students get the funding they need to pay for their studies. In particular, disadvantaged youth are sponsored by anonymous donors, but anyone can use the platform because there are no academic requirements. However, people using this service must be registered students, irrespective of which institution they are attending. All funds raised for a student are paid directly to their educational institution.

4)      Fundi

This financial solutions company, previously known as Eduloan, specialises in financing students. Students can obtain funds through this company for every kind of learning or studying, whether they be university degrees or college short courses or diplomas. Apart from studying fees, Fundi can also finance adjacent studying costs such as registration fees, accommodation, and learning material and tools such as textbooks and laptops.

5)      Company training

If you’re already working full-time for a company, it might be worth your while to see if your employer will fund your studies, whether partly or in full. Many companies will consider funding their employees’ studies if they develop the prospective student’s skills or if the studies will add value to the company. As such, many companies have a special budget allocated for short courses for employees. If you know your company has such a budget or would like to know if they do, speak to your liaison in your company’s human resources department.

Budgeting and financial planning

Regardless of which funding option you choose or can secure, it is crucial that you budget and plan your finances when needing to pay tuition. This planning is often more important than securing the funding, depending on the kind of funding you have. This means taking your other expenses into account when choosing a tuition payment option (most institutions will offer multiple payment options to suit their students’ budgets and financial circumstances), as well as setting aside the necessary money to pay for tuition when drawing up your monthly budget. There are many articles and templates online, which will help guide you in both choosing your tuition payment option and setting up your monthly budget while taking tuition payment into account.

At College SA, we offer convenient monthly instalment payment options to suit your financial needs. Because studies can be done part-time, you can still work part-time or full-time to help pay for your studies, if that is the funding option that suits you best. You can also pay per subject, which helps bring down the cost of studies. Because we are a distance-learning institution, you will save on travel and student accommodation costs, too.

For more information on our courses and payment options, speak to an educational planner today!