Financial Aid and Scholarships

Ensuring access and success to all students. Providing Financial support for promising students.

Undergraduate Financial Aid

Alarmingly, South Africa has one of the highest university drop-out rates in the world. A major cause of this is the high cost of studying which makes it prohibitive for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Securing funds to support financially struggling students is therefore one of the most critical issues facing higher education in South Africa. UCT is committed to supporting financially disadvantaged students. This has helped ensure that its graduation success rates are substantially higher than the South African average. However, the need for financial assistance far outstrips what the university has available to give. While most of its financial aid comes from its general operating budget, a significant percentage is provided by private donations from alumni and other donors. The University is appealing to all alumni and friends to help it grow this portion so that it can assist even more students. One full-cost bursary (including residence fees) is approximately R60,000.

Postgraduate Financial Aid

Increasing the number of postgraduate students at UCT – particularly black postgraduate students – is critical to the university’s objective of being an Afropolitan, research-led University. However, due to financial stress, most graduates are eager to leave university to seek employment, and few wish to pursue further studies. In this context, postgraduate scholarship funding is a vital tool in encouraging more graduates to consider a career in academia and research. Although UCT continues to commit resources to funding postgraduates, the need is greater than it can currently meet. Additional scholarship support will enable the University to fund meritorious graduates in areas of strategic importance and increase the number of postgraduate students who successfully complete their degree. A postgraduate scholarship is approximately R100,000.

Download Financial Aid  Brochure


U.S. donors have taken part in funding a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships, bursaries and prizes. Here is a sample of the many projects actively funded through UCT Fund, Inc. by our generous U.S. based donors:

The Allan Cormack Memorial Book Fund

Established in 1998 in memory of UCT alumnus and Nobel Laureate, Allan McLeod Cormack, provides math and physics textbook grants for needy students at UCT. Read more…

Stella Clark Teachers Award

Stella Clark was a lecturer in language development in the Academic Development Programme, Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED), at the University of Cape Town from 1996 until her death in March 2005. Her husband, Associate Professor Kevin Naidoo, and children, Jesse and Eamonn, established the Stella Clark Teachers Award to honour her many years of dedicated service to teaching students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds in working class schools on the Cape Flats and at UCT.

Established through donations from family and friends and colleagues from South Africa, UK, USA and Japan, the fund honors the work of the many unrecognized teachers who go beyond the call of duty to provide excellent education in often difficult circumstances.

Annually, registered UCT students are invited to nominate secondary school teachers who have helped to make it possible for them to come to university. Usually they would nominate someone who has inspired them to pursue a particular path of study, or has opened up new intellectual paths for them.

The successful teacher receives a monetary award of R5000 and is expected to give a talk at an award ceremony; the school receives R1000 towards educational resources and the UCT staff member of student who nominates the successful teacher can choose either an ipod or R1500 cash equivalent.

Zook Fields Piano Prize

Under the direction of Professor Franklin Larey of the University of Cape Town’s School of Music.

Complete list of UCT awards and prizes.

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