What is a Student Loan in South Africa? Get the best rate

What is a Student Loan in South Africa? Get the best rate

Investing in your education is paramount for your future, but what happens if you cannot pay for it? In South Africa there are many finance institutions which offer Student Loans. In this article we will teach you how to calculate your student loan and get the best rate.

What a Student Loan is and How does it Work in South Africa?

We are talking about a type of loan created to help students pay for their tertiary (or higher) studies. It is an instrument for those individuals who do not have the means to pay their education expenses for themselves.

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With this loan, you borrow money from a finance institution to pay for your education. Then, you have to repay what you borrowed plus the applicable interests. In South Africa you can take out a student loan either if you are a full-time or a part-time student.

Where Can I Find a Student Loan Calculator in South Africa?

Whether you are a student about to embark on this new and exciting adventure or a parent concerned for your child’s future, it is a good idea to investigate all you can about students loans to make the best decision. You may be asking yourself things like: where should I take out the loan? Which are the best rates?

One incredible tool that will help choose the most convenient loan for you or your child is a loan calculator. You can use our loan calculator to compare loans offered by different banks. On the basis of an amount and a repayment period, our calculator will show you the different options available.

Our calculator also provides ratings and comments made by other clients. These comments may guide you as to which bank or credit facility is best for your needs. Also, you can filter your search for different cities in South Africa and find out which are the best loans near your location.

How do Repayments Work with Student Loans in South Africa?

Each bank has its own terms and conditions regarding repayments for student loans. However, most financing institutions request that you pay interests while you are studying, and they start asking for repayment once you graduated.

This may also vary according if you are a full-time or a part-time student, though. Some banks start charging repayment when you start your studies if you are a part-time student. So, in this case you pay your repayment plus the interest at the same time.

What are the Requirements for Applying to Student Loan in South Africa?

First things first, you need to be a South African resident in order to apply for a student loan with a bank of South Africa. This requirement applies to all banks indistinctly.

Some banks may have different policies regarding requirements for student loans, but generally they request the following documents:

  • Proof that you reside in South Africa

  • Proof that you have been accepted or enrolled in a university or tertiary institution

  • Finance information about your guarantor (your guarantor can be one of your parents or a tutor)

  • Bills proving your education expenses such as rent, tuition fees, books, and so on

3 Steps to Apply for a Student Loan in South Africa

When we graduate from secondary education, we start thinking about our future. Some people are lucky enough to have a family who can afford higher education, while, unfortunately, others do not. This is why Student Loans were created in the first place: to help the less fortunate pursue an education.

Here we will tell you the three steps you need to take to start your education journey.

1. You need to consider your situation and decide if you’ll be a full-time or part-time student. Based on this, you will find different loan options.

2. Investigating the different banks and financial institution which offer student loans in South Africa.

3. Some banks have online applications to start your process. There you will have to fill out the information requested and wait to receive confirmation that your loan is pre-approved. But ultimately, you will have to provide the bank certain documents so you will need to pay the bank a visit.

What Kind of Interest Rate can I get on a Student Loan in South Africa and how can I Find the Best One?

The kind of interest rate you will be able to get will be subject to your financial conditions. For instance, if one of your parents will be your guarantor, the kind of rate you will get will depend on his or her income and credit history. Also, interest rates will vary from bank to bank.

There are no banks that offer interest-free student loans, but we were able to find an organization which offers this kind of loan. The Iqraa Trust South Africa designed a student loan for underprivileged students of South Africa.

If you want to find out which bank offers the best rates for a student loan, it is always a good idea to do a little research before making up your mind. Loans that are more convenient in terms of their rates are the cheapest. If you rush yourself and close the deal with a bank without having investigated others and their offers, you may end up spending more money.

How can I Compare Student Loans in South Africa?

To compare the different student loans offered in South Africa you should consider two issues:

1. What does the loan cover? Every bank offers different benefits. You should browse our web since we have many articles related to student loans offered by Absa and Standard Bank, for instance. There you will find what these banks include in their loans: such as accommodation, tuition costs, food, and others.

2. What are the approximate interest rates? As explained above, you can take advantage of our online loan calculator where you can compare estimated interest rates offered by different banks.

Are there Loans for Unemployed Students in South Africa?

If you need a student loan to pay for your higher education you can have one of your parents or a tutor as your guarantor. This means that if you are not able to pay for your loan, the guarantor has to answer for you.

No banking institution will lend you money if you cannot prove that you are going to be able to pay them back. So, it is very unlikely that a student with no income can get a loan at a bank.

Can I take out a Student Loan without Surety in South Africa?

A surety is a person who guarantees the loan will be paid. Generally, when talking about student loans, sureties are either a parent or a tutor. If you do not have someone who acts as your surety you can consider taking a part-time job and thus using your income as surety.

Another way to consider is applying for financial aid in The National Student Financial Aid Scheme. If you prove that you have no possibilities to access education through other means, and meet their eligibility requirements, you may be able to get aid from the NSFAS.

Are there Student Loans for South African Students Studying Abroad?

Many of us have dreamed about studying abroad and experiencing a new culture. This is a very expensive dream, though. So, how can you finance it? Banks do not usually offer student loans for studying in other countries since it is very difficult for them to track and corroborate where the money is going when it is off-borders.

But you can consider requesting a personal loan if you can prove you will be able to pay it back. If a personal loan is not an option, you should consider applying for Scholarships or Grants to study in another country.

Can I Get a Student Loan in South Africa to Study at a University?

Most banks offer student loans to people who want to study at higher education institutions, tertiary institutions and universities. You will also need to have a guarantor if you don’t work or account for yourself if you work part-time. You can also consider applying for NSFAS student loans which are specifically designed for those individuals who want to go to a public university in South Africa.

If your dream is to be a university student, go get it!

Which are the Student Loans Options Available in South Africa?

Most banks offer two types of loans. The first one is designed for full-time students. Generally, banks offer this loan for those youngsters who only want to study. In this case, you will need to have a guarantor to act as the person responsible in the event you do not pay back your loan. The second type of student loan is for part-time students. In this case, you probably work part-time and will take out the loan using your income as surety.

What can I do if in the Event of an Emergency I cannot pay my Student Loan Repayments in South Africa?

Requesting a student loan is a serious commitment: you must pay it back with repayments. What happens if you are in an emergency and cannot take care of it? Many banks in South Africa are aware of the fact that unfortunate events do happen and, for this reason, they offer insurance for your student loan. If you take out student loan insurance, you are covered in the event something bad happens. This kind of insurance may vary from bank to bank, but usually are meant to cover your student loan in the unfortunate events of death or diseases.

Can I Finance my Postgraduate Studies or MBA with a Student Loan in South Africa?

Wow! You’re thinking about a postgraduate degree, we’re impressed! You can also finance your postgraduate studies with a student loan. For instance, Absa Bank offers postgraduate students the same type of loans offered to undergraduates. The only requirement is that the course is longer than two months.

Another option to consider if you’re thinking about a postgraduate degree is applying for Standard Bank Group Postgraduate Bursary. This financial help is designed for those professionals who wish to continue their studies in the fields of technology, commerce, science, and math.

Is it Possible to Request Student Loans to Study at Private Colleges in South Africa?

We all know that there is a great array of choices when it comes to education institutions. Some prefer going to public universities while others would rather attend private colleges. Most banks finance studies both at public universities and private colleges. You should only check with the bank you choose if they accept the specific institution you wish to enroll to. Generally, banks require that the institution provides at least tertiary education. Also, each bank will have different policies as regards the duration of the course.

Can I Take out a Student Loan if I want to Become a Pilot or if I am an Intern?

Being a pilot is one of the highest-paying jobs there are. Unluckily, it is very expensive. If you don’t have money to pay for your aviation studies or if you don’t have anybody to help you pay for it, it’s not the end of the road. Absa Bank offers finance for those of you who dream about becoming a pilot in South Africa. You should check the list of the aviation schools they accept in their loan.

If you are an intern and study full-time you can have one of your parents or a tutor as your guarantor. You take out a loan under your name but with someone acting as a backup in the event you are not able to pay it back.

How can I get a Car Loan if I am a Student in South Africa?

Owning a car gives you an enormous independence. There are no car loans specifically designed for students, but you can apply for a car loan, like balloon loans for vehicles, just as anybody as long as you meet the requirements.

You can use our car loan calculator to find out which bank or online financing institution has the best rates in the market. You can compare them and choose the one that fits your needs best.

Also, consider the possibility of buying a used car. Many banks offer car loans for buying either new or used cars.

2 Ways in which you can Take out Personal Loans if you are Student in South Africa

Being a student doesn’t mean that you don’t have financial need. Here we will tell you two sources for funding in South Africa.

1. A personal loan from a bank. Most banks provide personal loans to individuals older than 18 years of age, who are South African and who can provide proof of income.

2. Requesting a loan at online lending companies. There are various online lending or cash converters loans companies offering personal loans. Usually, their requirements are a little less strict than the ones applied by banks. However, residing in South Africa and being able to document that you earn a salary are also requested.  

How can I Request a Short Term Loan if I’m a Student?

There are many online lending companies offering short term loans for virtually anybody. Generally, all you need to be awarded this type of loan is residing in South Africa, providing ID, cellphone number, information about your bank account, and documents proving your income.

Again, don’t rush into a decision before waiving in all the information you can get. Go to our online loan calculator to find out which financing companies offer you the best small loans if you are a student.

How does Consolidation work with Student Loans?

The difficult time of a loan is when you have to start repaying it. If you are not careful enough and apart from the student loans you have borrowed money from other lending institutions or you have big credit bills, you might find yourself struggling to keep up with all your commitments. A consolidation loan might be the solution. You can combine various loans into a more manageable one with only one creditor and one interest rate.

Are there Courses in South Africa usually Awarded Study Loans?

Before you jump in and register in a course, you should be sure you’re going to be able to get the money to pay for it. In South Africa, banks usually provide loans if you want to study in public or private institutions certified by the South African Qualifications Authority. So, when you decide what you want to study and where, check with the bank you choose if they finance education in that specific institution.

If your aim is to study at IIE MSA (formerly known as Monash South Africa) with a student loan, you can. You should, as explained above, corroborate with your bank if this private institution is accepted for their student loan.

Can I pay my Student Loan Online?

You’re in the point where you have decided what to study, where and which bank to borrow from. But what happens with repayments? We’re living in hectic times and going to a bank and queuing to make payments can become a real burden. We’re in the 21st Century, so that’s past history. Now, most banks require that you open a bank account with them in order to take out their student loan. All banks offer online banking and you can make all of your payments from your house with your computer.

In South Africa, Which Banks offer Student Loans and which are the Best?

A loan is a serious business which should be carefully considered. Most loans take years to finish repaying them: it’s a long-term commitment. Here we will list the banks that offer students loans in South Africa. This list is compiled on the basis of the most reputable banks in South Africa:

  • Absa Bank

  • Standard Bank

  • Nedbank

As to which bank is best, that is relative. One way of knowing which student loan is better for you is to find out the interest rates offered by each bank. Moreover, you can do a little research on each bank, you can ask yourself, for instance: how long has it been providing service in South Africa? Does it have positive reviews?

We’ve come to the end of this article. Our aim was to show you the different options for student loans offered in South Africa. We’ve explained to you what a student loan is and how it works, we’ve shown you how to calculate repayments, which are the most trustworthy institutions to apply for this type of loan, and much more. We hope we’ve been of help to you and we urge you to ask us any question you might have.

Preguntas Frecuentes

Can I borrow money just to buy a computer?

Yes, but you’d need a Personal Loan.

Can I apply for a student loan if I don’t work?

Yes! You just need a surety.

Is it possible to apply on line?


I'm working in a retail company. Do I qualify for a study loan?

You should check the requirements asked by the financial institution where you plan to ask for an education loan for students. Some institutions ask for clients to have a certain minimum income. So, if you work at a retail company and earn the money asked by the bank or financial company, then you would be able to ask for the loan.

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