A higher education is increasingly expensive, not just in South Africa but in the rest of the world too.

The discussion over student loans dominates conversations, particularly in the US right now where one group wants it cancelled, while the other argues against that.

Here in South Africa, we’ve seen our own activism on the matter.

In 2015 and 2016, the country saw the #FeesMustFall protests, led by students whose goal was to stop increases in school fees, as well as pressure the government to increase funding of universities.

A compromise was reached and it was agreed that there would be no fee increases in 2016.

However, the country still faces a constant threat of increasing fees, even as the current ones prove too high to settle for many South Africans.

The good thing is that there are robust student loan programs in the country to lend a helping hand.


Which bank is the best for student loans in South Africa?

Most major South African banks offer a student loan program. Let’s look at some of them, and what’s in it for the student.

1. FNB Student loan

The Best Student Loan Programs in South Africa/ Amount: R4 000 – R80 000

/ Interest rate: Personalized

/ Payment Options:

Only pay interest, fees and other charges while studying. (Proof of enrollment/registration is required)

Start paying the capital/principal upon completion of studies, as well as continuation of interest, fees and other charges.

/ Benefits:

Credit life insurance – Covers the principal debtor and student in the invent of death, temporary and permanent disability, retrenchment or inability to earn income.

/ Qualifying criteria:

* Must be 18 years or older.
* Principal debtor must earn R6 000+ per month and be a South African citizen.
* The student must be registered with a recognized tertiary institution.

/ How to apply:

Apply at your nearest FNB branch. Or contact FNB on 087 335 8630.

You can also request for a call back on their website.

Read: This is How To Reverse FNB eWallet Payment in 2021

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2. Absa Student Loan

The Best Student Loan programs in South Africa/ Amount: A minimum of R15 000

/ Interest rate: Absa ready to match the lowest rate you are offered elsewhere.

/ Payment options:

You can opt to make both capital and interest repayments from the word go.

Or you can repay interest only for a period of 12 months, and then start on the capital thereafter.

/ Benefits:

Credit protection plan – To cover you in the event of death, disability, critical illness or retrenchment.

/ What’s covered:

Both undergraduate and postgraduate, as long as course duration is over 2 months.

Loan covers 1 year’s tuition or other costs. You need to re-apply every year of study.

The following are also covered – Prescribed textbooks, registration fees, accommodation, computer equipment required for studies.

/ Who can apply:

A South African citizen or person living in South Africa permanently and earning more than R3 000 a month.

The loan can be in the name of parent/guardian with proof of income or part-time student who is full-time employed.

On top of institutions recognized in South Africa, applicants also qualify for online courses accredited by the United States Department of Education or the UK Government of Higher Education Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).

/ How to apply:

You can apply at any Absa branch, or Absa student bureau.

Or you can call Absa on 0860 100 372.

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3. Standard Bank Student Loan

The Best Student Loan programs in South Africa 1/ Amount:

* Tuition – No maximum
* Accommodation – R60,000
* Equipment and textbooks – R5,000 minimum, R20,000 maximum.

/ Interest rate: 7%*

/ Payment options:

Option to pay the interest and fees during studies, and only start paying the capital after studies.

Grace period of three to six months before beginning to making your capital repayments if you have completed your articles, internship or community service. (Extendable)

Immediate repayments if you fail to complete your studies.

/ Benefits:

Credit insurance (optional)

/ What’s covered:

* Tuition
* Accommodation
* Textbooks
* Laptop

/ How to apply:

Apply online on Standard bank website.

If you receive pre-approval, visit a Standard Bank branch to have the application finalized.

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4. Nedbank Student Loan

The Best Student Loan programs in South Africa 2/ Amount: Unknown

/ Interest rate: Personalized

/ Payment options:

Make only interest payments while studying, and capital repayment after completion of your studies.

Part-time students have to make both interest and capital repayments while studying.

/ Benefits:

Credit life cover (optional)

/ What’s covered:

Textbooks, tuition fees, accommodation.

/ Guarantor requirements:

* A Nedbank transactional account, as their main account.
* SA identity document or ID card.
* Proof of current residential address (for FICA purposes)
* Marital status declaration
* Latest payslip
* Three months bank statement (if non-Nedbank client)
* An income and expenditure statement

/ What you’ll need:

* Your latest exam results
* Proof of registration at a SAQA-accredited tertiary institution.
* An invoice or statement for university fees, textbooks, and accommodation. (for campus or university accredited accommodation only).
* Letter of necessity for any study-related equipment.
* Co-habitation form obtained from a branch (for FICA purposes).
* An UnlockedMe Student Account

/ How to apply:

You and your guarantor should take the above documents to a Nedbank branch.

A new application is required for each year of study.

For second and subsequent years of study, proof of the previous years’ academic results is required, to verify that the student is continuing with their studies.

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