Why you should apply to the top university in the country especially if you are “poor”

12:42 SA VARSITY STUDENT 0 Comments

why you should apply to south africas top university if you are poor

I don’t know how many times I have heard people saying they did not apply to UCT or Wits or any of the top universities in the country because they thought those universities were for rich kids or people with bursaries. People from poor neighbourhoods/schools think that they cannot afford to go and study at this country’s top universities but the truth is, it is a lot easier to afford to go to one of South Africa’s top institutions because they have so much financial backing compared to other institutions. Let me explain what I mean below. Keep in mind that I will be writing this from the viewpoint of UCT, my experiences and those of others from different backgrounds who have shared their stories with me.



Reasons why you should apply to this country’s top university:


- Every year at the beginning of the year during registration people say that UCT has the most expensive registration fee out of all of South Africa’s public universities and that is true at R23 500 for tuition fees + R28 000 if you live in catering res or R18 000 if you live in self-catering res, but what people fail to tell you is that, that is not really a registration fee as you can still register even if you do not pay that fee by the deadline. It is just the initial payment you are required to make, you can still register and pay this at a later date and you will be charged a late payment fee or if you have a good reason for paying late or were still organising payment such as a loan, you will not be charged a late payment fee if you can prove you had already begun loan application process by deadline.

- If your family is poor and you have excellent marks in matric, then you should definitely apply to UCT as it has the most comprehensive financial aid in the country. Most people that I know that are at UCT either have bursaries or are on financial aid (There are rich people but I wouldn’t say that of the average UCT student). If you get a lot of A’s and are ranked in the top range of applicant’s coming to your faculty you have a chance to get an entrance scholarship and if you are poor and qualify for financial aid you will get nsfas funding to pay for your fees, accommodation and give you spending money. If you do not qualify for nsfas but your household income is less than R600 000 a year you will get gap funding which takes care of a portion of your fees (The University finds funding for you).

- Also if you perform well in your course you may be able to find a bursary as they are constantly being advertised around campus through email and you should be constantly looking for bursaries online and applying (you never know when you get lucky). I know of guys who were on gap funding for their first few years at university and then they got a bursary in their 3rd or final year.

- It is very difficult to get financially excluded from UCT if you can prove that you cannot afford fees and you perform well academically (if you are doing badly academically you have worse things to worry about than financial exclusion like academic exclusion), the people at the financial aid office try their best to find funding to pay off the remainder of your previous years fees so that you can register for the current year.  The worst thing you can do is keep quiet and do nothing hoping help finds you, you need to be proactive and ask for help by the financial aid and fees office, apply for things such as the SRC assistance fund before registration begins and find out as much information as you can about funding opportunities.



So there you have it even though UCT is seen as the country’s most expensive public university (and it is), it doesn’t mean if you are not rich, you shouldn’t apply to study there as there is financial aid and gap funding which helps adjust fees in such a way that you will be fully funded or paying as little as you would pay at the other university you would have applied to because of affordability. I chose UCT because my ego at the time told me I was a top student and so I wanted to go to the best university this country had to offer, it didn’t hurt that it was based in Cape Town and happened to be one of the most beautiful campuses in the world. My point is if you want to go to Wits or Up or Stellenbosch or any other of this country’s top universities, apply to go study there and find out what funding opportunities are available there. I bet you the majority of student’s there are not rich, you must be willing to enquire, ask questions and ask for help because it is your future that you are fighting for.

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