Bursaries offered by South Africa’s Biggest Banks

With the chaos and confusion over free tertiary education in South Africa still lingering at the start of the academic year, companies are still doing what they can to finance students who stand out, and have the potential to add much needed skills to the workforce.

The department of higher education has always maintained that beyond government’s efforts to make tertiary education more affordable, private companies, who also benefit from a skilled workforce, should also play a larger role in funding students.

Many companies in South Africa already offer a number of bursaries and scholarship programs, which help students pay for part of or all of the fees needed to study.

Bursaries and scholarship programmes are often tied to recruitment, as companies pay for students to develop specific skills they are in need of.

In the local banking sector, this can be seen by the bursaries and scholarship programmes that are available to finance students who are going into the finance fields.

Many of these programmes focus on studies like accounting, financial management, actuarial sciences and the like – but also related fields like IT, computer science, marketing and even engineering.

The country’s top banks also offer apprenticeships and other opportunities.

Applications for the 2018 academic year have varying deadlines, but any current students or learners who are matriculating this year who are in need of financial support should start applying for 2019 bursaries now where they can, or take note of when applications open so they can apply as early as possible.

Here are the bursaries offered by South Africa’s listed retail banks.


FirstRand offers the Laurie Dippenaar Scholarship, which is for students complete their postgraduate studies abroad in any country and any field.

The program covers a maximum period of two years to the value of R400,000 per year. This is to cover tuition, books, accommodation, meals and other relevant needs.

This scholarship has bursaries available in all fields of study, as long as it’s at any internationally-recognised university in any other country outside of South Africa.

Candidates have to return home to South Africa, work and stay in South Africa for a minimum period of five years after completing their studies.

Applications open from the beginning of January each year and close the end of February.

Standard Bank

Standard Bank has a number of scholarships and bursaries available for both under- and post-graduate studies.

The fields it offers to fund are mainly within the commerce, engineering, technology and science faculties, and require students to be registered with a ‘group of excellence’, as listed on its site.

Postgraduate bursaries are available for qualifying students for study at an institute of the bank’s choosing.

The bank also offers the Derek Cooper Scholarship, which gives graduates the opportunity to study further overseas.

As with most bursaries on offer, to qualify, students needs to be well-rounded and have good marks. Applications typically open in August, and close in September each year.

Fields of study:

  • Actuarial Science
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Financial Mathematics
  • Business Mathematics and Informatics
  • Business Science
  • Econometrics
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Information Systems
  • Information Technology
  • Investment Management
  • Law
  • Quantitative Finance
  • Quantitative Risk Management
  • Risk Management
  • Software Development
  • Statistics
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Taxation
  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Construction
  • Economics and Management
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Electronic Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mining Engineering
  • Quantity Surveying
  • Forensics/ Compliance
  • Agricultural Science
  • Chemistry
  • Computational and Applied Mathematics
  • Computer Science
  • Environmental Science
  • Geographical Science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Statistical Science


Absa has has bursaries and graduate programmes for matriculants, current students, post-grad students and new graduates.

The bursaries offer to cover full tuition fees, and re-evaluate holders each year to assure satisfactory performance. They cover a wide variety of bachelor and postgraduate degrees, mainly focused on the financial and mathematicalfields.

To qualify, current students must be registered at an accredited university, and must achieve a 70% average in their first semester of study. Matriculants need an 80% average in their June exams, and must plan to study full time.

The bank also has a 12-month graduate programme that offers training and support, while building up skills and experience.

Applications for bursaries close on 31 July every year.

Fields of study:

  • Actuarial Science
  • Business Mathematics and Informatics
  • Data Science
  • Engineering (Financial/ Industrial/ Process)
  • Informatics
  • Information Technology
  • Law
  • Risk/ Investment Management
  • Statistics


Nedbank’s Bursary Programme aids ‘financially restricted’ students, and offers to cover the full costs of the first degree of any qualifying candidate.

The bank offers the bursary to prospective students who are interested in studying in a wide variety of fields, largely in the finance, IT, engineering or mathematics faculties.

To qualify, candidates need to meet entry requirements set by the universities they are trying to enter, as well as maintain a minimum 65% average. Additionally, students need to prove their need for financial aid.

The bursaries become available at the start of February each year, and applications close at the end of April.


Captiec offers work-back bursaries to students in a wide variety of fields of study, focusing on finance, maths, IT and engineering.

The bursary is only available to third-year or higher students, who have maintained a 60% average in the specified fields.

Once qualifying students are finished with their studies, they are expected to work for Capitec at its main technopark in Stellenbosch for a time equivalent to the period the bank financed their studies.

Fields of study:

  • Accounting and Auditing
  • Finance
  • Commerce or Business Science
  • Business and Management Studies
  • Risk Management
  • Economics
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Information Systems
  • Information Technology (IT)
  • Computer Science
  • Marketing
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering

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