Applying for a bursary can be your gateway to achieving your educational dreams, especially when securing education funding can be a significant challenge. A bursary application letter is your first impression, and it needs to be a good one. This article will guide you through the process of writing an effective bursary application letter.

Understanding the Bursary Application Letter

A bursary application letter is a formal request for financial support from an organisation. This type of letter is a key component in the application process for a bursary, which is a financial award given to students to help fund their education. In South Africa, where education can be a significant expense, bursaries play a crucial role in enabling students to pursue their academic goals.

Essential Elements of a Bursary Application Letter

1. Personal Introduction

The personal introduction section of your bursary application letter is your first opportunity to make a connection with the bursary committee. It is essential to craft this part carefully to make a positive and memorable impression. Here are some additional points to consider when writing your personal introduction:

  • Personal Background: Start by providing basic personal details. Mention your full name, age, and where you are currently residing. This information gives the committee a sense of who you are.
  • Educational Background: Clearly state the name of your current educational institution. If you have attended notable schools in the past, especially ones known for academic excellence, briefly mention them as well.
  • Field of Study and Academic Year: Be specific about your field of study and the year or level you are currently in. This helps the committee understand your academic progress and how far you are from completing your studies.
  • Career Aspirations: Briefly mention your career aspirations. This can be a powerful addition as it shows the committee the potential long-term impact of their support.
  • Community Involvement: If space allows, mentioning any community involvement or extracurricular activities can be beneficial. This demonstrates your well-rounded character and commitment to contributing to society.
  • Personal Traits: Highlight one or two personal traits or strengths that you feel characterise you. Choose traits that are relevant to your academic journey or future career goals.

Dear [Bursary Committee’s Name],

“My name is [Your Full Name], a 20-year-old student currently in my second year at [Your University/College], majoring in [Your Field of Study]. Born and raised in [Your City or Town], I have always been passionate about [a subject or field related to your studies]. My academic journey so far has been enriching, having participated in [any notable academic or community activities], and I am keen on pursuing a career in [Your Career Aspiration]. I am known among my peers and professors for my [personal traits, e.g., dedication, creativity], which I believe will be instrumental in my future endeavors.”

2. Purpose of the Letter

In this section of your bursary application letter, clearly stating the purpose of your letter is crucial. This section should immediately inform the reader about your intent to seek financial assistance. Points to consider when writing this section:

  • Direct Statement of Intent: Begin with a straightforward statement indicating your intent to apply for the bursary. This direct approach ensures there is no ambiguity about the purpose of your letter.
  • Link to Your Studies: Briefly explain how the bursary is directly related to your current studies. This shows the committee that their support is integral to your educational progress.
  • Mention of the Specific Bursary: If you are applying for a specific bursary, mention it by name. This shows that you have done your research and are not sending a generic application.
  • Personal Connection: If the bursary is in a field or area you are passionate about, briefly mention this connection. It shows that your interest aligns with the purpose of the bursary.
  • Urgency or Necessity: If applicable, express the urgency or necessity of the financial support. This can help the committee understand the critical nature of your request.
  • Acknowledgment of the Opportunity: Expressing gratitude for the opportunity to apply for the bursary shows respect and appreciation.

“I am writing to express my sincere interest in and need for the [Name of Bursary]. As a dedicated student in [Your Field of Study] at [Your University/College], I find myself at a critical point in my academic journey where financial support is not just beneficial, but necessary for me to continue my education. The [Name of Bursary] stands out to me not only as a vital financial resource but also as an alignment with my passion for [related interest or field]. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to apply for this bursary, as it represents a chance to pursue my academic goals without the heavy burden of financial constraints.”

3. Academic and Personal Achievements

This section of your bursary application letter highlights your academic and personal achievements which paints a comprehensive picture of your accomplishments and character.

  • Specific Academic Achievements: Beyond stating your grades, mention any specific academic honors, awards, or recognitions you have received. Include achievements such as being on the Dean’s list, receiving academic distinctions in certain subjects, or winning school or regional academic competitions.
  • Leadership Roles: Detail any leadership roles you have held, whether in school, community groups, or extracurricular activities. Explain the role, the responsibilities it entailed, and any notable accomplishments during your tenure. This can include positions like school prefect, club president, or team captain.
  • Community Involvement: Describe your involvement in community service or volunteer work. Mention specific organizations or causes you’ve worked with, the nature of your work, and any impact you’ve had. This demonstrates your commitment to contributing positively to society.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Include any extracurricular activities that highlight your diverse interests and skills. This could be participation in sports teams, drama clubs, debate teams, or music groups.
  • Awards and Recognitions: If you have received any awards or recognitions, either academically or in your extracurricular pursuits, mention them. This includes scholarships, certificates of excellence, or any public acknowledgments of your achievements.
  • Personal Projects or Initiatives: If you have initiated or been involved in any personal projects, particularly those that have a community impact or relate to your field of study, describe them. This could include organizing community events, starting a small business, or participating in research projects.
  • Unique Personal Achievements: Any unique personal achievements that set you apart, such as overcoming significant challenges, achieving something notable in your personal life, or possessing a rare skill or talent, should also be included.

“In my academic pursuits, I have consistently maintained a high GPA, securing a place on the Dean’s List for the past two years. My commitment to excellence was recognized when I received the [Specific Academic Award] for outstanding performance in [Subject/Area]. As the president of the [School Club/Team], I led our team to a [specific accomplishment], demonstrating my leadership and teamwork skills.

I am also actively involved in my community, having volunteered over [number] hours with [Organization], where I contributed to [specific project or initiative]. My efforts in [extracurricular activity] earned me the [Name of Award or Recognition], highlighting my dedication and skill in this area.

One of my proudest achievements is initiating a [Personal Project or Initiative], which aimed to [project goal or impact]. This project not only honed my [specific skills] but also made a tangible difference in [specific area or community].”

4. Financial Need

The financial need section of your bursary application letter is a critical component, where you have to convincingly explain your financial situation and justify the need for assistance.

  • Personal or Family Financial Situation: Provide a clear picture of your personal or family financial circumstances. Mention any significant factors like family income, the number of dependents in your family, or any recent financial hardships like job loss or medical expenses.
  • Costs of Education: Detail the specific costs associated with your education. This can include tuition fees, textbooks, accommodation, transportation, and any other relevant expenses. Providing actual figures can help illustrate the extent of your financial need.
  • Efforts to Support Yourself: If you have taken steps to support yourself financially, such as part-time work or applying for other scholarships, mention this. It shows your initiative and commitment to pursuing your education despite financial challenges.
  • Impact of the Bursary: Explain how the bursary would alleviate your financial burdens. Be specific about how the funds will be used and the difference it will make in your educational journey.
  • Long-Term Financial Planning: If applicable, discuss your long-term financial planning for your education. This can include your plans to manage expenses throughout your course of study and how the bursary fits into this plan.
  • Consequences of Not Receiving the Bursary: Briefly mention the potential consequences if you do not receive the bursary. This could be the inability to enroll in certain courses, delaying your education, or the need to take on significant debt.

“In the current financial climate, my family is struggling to support my educational expenses. With a household income of [specific income], supporting [number] dependents, the financial strain has been a constant challenge. The cost of my tuition fees at [Your University/College] amounts to [amount], not including additional expenses like books, supplies, and living expenses, which total approximately [amount].

Despite working a part-time job and cutting down on personal expenses, the gap between my earnings and my educational costs is significant. The [Name of Bursary] would not only help bridge this gap but would also reduce the financial pressure that currently overshadows my academic focus.

Without this bursary, I fear that I may have to defer my studies or resort to high-interest loans, which would only compound my financial strain in the long run. The support from this bursary is, therefore, not just a financial relief but a crucial factor in continuing my education uninterrupted.”

5. Future Goals

The future goals section of your bursary application letter is where you can connect your personal aspirations with the potential impact of the bursary. Discuss how the bursary will support your educational and career objectives.

  • Educational Objectives: Clearly articulate your short-term and long-term educational goals. Explain how the bursary will facilitate your current academic endeavors and how it aligns with your future academic plans, like pursuing further studies or specializing in a particular area.
  • Career Ambitions: Describe your career objectives and how they are influenced by your current course of study. Mention how the bursary will enable you to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve these career goals.
  • Alignment with Bursary Values: Research the values and mission of the bursary provider and demonstrate how your goals align with them. If the bursary is aimed at promoting certain fields or sectors, explain how your career path will contribute to these areas.
  • Community Impact: Discuss how achieving your educational and career objectives will enable you to give back to your community or contribute to societal development. This shows that the impact of the bursary extends beyond your personal benefit.
  • Long-term Vision: Share your long-term vision or the broader impact you aim to create in your field or community. This can include your aspirations to drive change, innovate, or lead in your chosen field.
  • Role of the Bursary: Explicitly state how the financial support from the bursary will be instrumental in realizing these goals. This can include easing financial burdens, allowing you to focus on studies, or providing opportunities that would otherwise be inaccessible.

“My ambition is to complete my degree in [Your Field of Study] with distinction and to further my studies with a focus on [specific area of interest or specialization]. The [Name of Bursary] will be instrumental in this journey, allowing me to dedicate my full attention to my studies without the distraction of financial stress.

Upon completion of my education, I aspire to enter the field of [Your Career Field], where I plan to contribute to [specific goals or projects related to the field]. My career goal is to not only excel in my profession but also to contribute meaningfully to [specific societal goals or community projects].

I am particularly drawn to the [Name of Bursary] due to its commitment to [values or objectives of the bursary provider]. My goals align closely with this mission, as I aim to [specific ways your goals align with the bursary values]. With the support of this bursary, I will be better positioned to achieve these objectives and to make a significant contribution to [relevant sector or community].”

5. Gratitude and Conclusion

The gratitude and conclusion section of your bursary application letter is your final opportunity to leave a lasting impression. It is important to express your appreciation genuinely and thoughtfully.

  • Express Sincere Gratitude: Start by sincerely thanking the bursary committee for considering your application. Acknowledge the time and effort they invest in reviewing applications.
  • Reiterate the Impact of the Bursary: Briefly restate how the bursary would impact your educational journey and future goals. This reinforces the importance of the bursary in your life.
  • Mention the Learning Experience: If the process of applying for the bursary has been educational or inspirational for you, mention this. It shows your positive attitude and ability to find value in the experience, regardless of the outcome.
  • Look Forward to a Positive Relationship: Express your eagerness to potentially engage further with the bursary provider. This could be in terms of updates on your academic progress or involvement in any programs or events they may offer.
  • Closing Remarks: End your letter with a formal and respectful closing remark. Use phrases like “Yours sincerely” or “With kind regards,” followed by your name.
  • Offer of Further Information: Indicate your willingness to provide any additional information or to meet for a discussion if necessary. This shows your openness and proactive nature.


“I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the [Name of Bursary] Committee for considering my application. Your dedication to supporting students is not only commendable but deeply impactful for individuals like myself who strive to overcome financial barriers in pursuit of education.

This application process has been a reflective and insightful journey for me, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story and aspirations with you. Should the committee require any further information or wish to discuss my application in more detail, I am readily available and eager to engage.

I look forward with hope and optimism to the possibility of being part of the [Name of Bursary] community, and I am excited about the potential opportunities that this support could unlock for me.

Yours sincerely,
[Your Name]”

Format of a Bursary Application Letter

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, Zip Code]
[Email Address]


[Bursary Provider’s Name]
[Their Address]
[City, Zip Code]

Dear [Bursary Committee’s Name],

I am writing to apply for the [Name of Bursary] as advertised on your website. As a dedicated student of [Your University/College], majoring in [Your Field of Study], I am eager to pursue my academic goals but am hindered by financial constraints.

Throughout my academic journey, I have maintained a [Your GPA] GPA and have been actively involved in [mention any relevant extracurricular activities]. These experiences have not only enriched my knowledge but have also honed my skills in [mention relevant skills].

Unfortunately, my financial situation is a barrier to my educational aspirations. My family’s income is insufficient to cover the costs of my tuition, books, and other academic expenses. This bursary would significantly ease the financial burden and allow me to focus more on my studies.

Thank you for considering my application. I am looking forward to the opportunity to further discuss how this bursary will enable me to achieve my educational and career goals.

[Your Name]

Writing a bursary application letter requires thoughtfulness and a clear understanding of your goals and financial needs. By following these guidelines and using the provided example as a template, you can increase your chances of success.

Now that you are equipped to write a compelling bursary application letter, follow Nasi Spani for more opportunities.