Financial preparation for college is important if you want further your studies. Not having cash in hand to further your studies means you will have to take out a student loan, apply for a bursary, or put your studies on hold for a while. If you are planning on applying for college, you are lucky. A college education is far more affordable than a university education, and the entrance requirements are not always as strict as with universities. High school students should ask their parents to open a savings account for them where they can save money. You can also get a casual job and put your own money away. By the end of your Matric year, you should be able to pay your registration fee upfront. This will fill a big gap in your pocket. If you are already working a full-time job, you could apply at a college that offers part-time or distance learning courses. Part-time courses and distance learning colleges allow you to either attend classes in the evening or study when you want to. Distance learning studies are quite flexible. You are in control of when, where and for how long you study at a time.
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Furthering your studies can be costly. Not only do you have to pay the registration fee and buy textbooks, but you also have to pay for transport and sometimes accommodation. Before enrolling in a college course, do your research. Speak to the learning institution you want to study at, and find out what all the costs involved are. This should give you an idea of how much money you need to further your college education.
Ensure you know what is included in the course price and what is not. If you want to save on transport and accommodation costs, you should consider enrolling at a distance learning college. It is also an excellent alternative for students who live far from the main cities. There is no need to travel, and you receive your study material at your home or office.
Working while you study is a great way to pay for your studies. However, you must manage your time efficiently. Spending too little time in front of your study books and too much time working could result in you failing. Find a job that allows you to work shifts or apply at a college that will enable you to study when you want.
Where to find a part-time job?
You can look for a part-time job on any of these well-known job websites: Indeed, Careers24, Careers Portal, Career Junction, Job Rapido, Job Mail, The Jobs Portal, Simply Hired,
Best Jobs, Splash Find, Gumtree etc.
You can opt to study at a distance learning college.
Distance learning colleges allow you to choose your own study schedule, which means you can manage your work and studies. Another advantage of studying at a distance learning college is that you do not have to worry about attending classes. You can complete all your assignments in the comfort of your own home, which means you can study in the evenings or over the weekend.
If you do not have the money to further your studies, there are many South African companies and provincial government departments that offer bursaries to promising students. However, before you apply for one of these bursaries, ensure that you understand the terms and conditions. A contract bursary, for example, requires you to pay the money back as soon as you graduate. You will be required to work for the company that offered you the study loan as soon as you complete your studies.
Companies that offer college study bursaries include Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Liberty, Vodacom and Eskom. Pick n Pay, for example, only provides bursaries to students whose parents work for the company. If you have a parent that works for Pick n Pay, enquire about their study bursaries. Once again, ensure you understand the terms and conditions of the bursary before you accept.
You can also visit www.zabursaries.co.za for a list of bursaries available. SA Bursaries is the biggest bursary website in South Africa, with the most comprehensive list of the bursaries in South Africa.
As a South African citizen, you can apply for a National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) loan at one of South Africa’s public higher education learning institutions. The NSFAS is a statutory body, funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). They offer financial aid to students who want to further their studies after high school. However, to qualify for one of these study loans, you have to meet specific criteria. For more information about the NSFAS, visit www.nsfas.org.za
You could also apply for a college student loan at one of South Africa’s major banks. However, before you can be considered for one of these student loans, you must provide a valid proof of registration from the college you registered with. If you are under 18, you will also need a parent or guardian to sign surety for you. These types of study loans will require you to pay the interest on your loan throughout your studies. Then, once you graduate, you will be required to pay the rest of your study loan back to the bank.
Ensure that you read the terms and conditions before you sign for one of these student loans. If you cannot pay the monthly instalments, it will do you more harm than good. A bad credit record has many implications. South African banks that offer student loans to college students include Absa Bank, First National Bank, Nedbank, and Standard Bank.
If you are willing to wait before applying for college, you could take a year off, get a job and save up for your college studies. Many students take a gap year after Matric, not just to save money for college, but also to decide what career they want to pursue and what they want to study.
If you would like to find out which gap year option is right for you, visit Parent24. They have a very helpful article about choosing a gap year option.