Rural Education & Access Programme Bursaries

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A bursary programme that assists students from rural areas to study in a broad range of disciplines in 16 South African universities.

The Rural Education and Access Programme (REAP) is a non-profit organisation that started out its operations as the Catholic Education Assistance Programme.

It was registered as an association of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference in 2001, and now provides bursaries and learnerships to students of any religious affiliation. The organisation relies on private donors to continue its work.

REAP’s bursary programme provides financial assistance and mentorship to learners from rural areas in South Africa.

The organisation supports study at 16 universities in the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, North West, KZN, and Western Cape provinces.

REAP Bursary Program Overview

The bursary is open to South African students who have an average of 55% in their mid-year Grade 11 results (excluding Life Orientation).

Learners also need to provide evidence that they come from a disadvantaged household, with gross annual income earnings of less than R140,000. Students who have completed high school within the previous two years may still apply if they meet all the other criteria.

Bursary Benefits

REAP offers a full-cost bursary covering registration afees,nd tuition  book allowances, accommodation and living expenses. In addition, the fund will cover the costs for technical equipment in some instances.

REAP also partners with a number of corporates such as Mondi and Lafarge to help place bursary recipients who have graduated in jobs.

Qualifications Covered

The bursary programme covers any qualification as long as the applicant is registered at one of its supported institutions of higher learning.

Application Process

REAP’s application is relatively long, beginning when students are in Grade 11 as the organisation believes that this gives them enough time to adequately prepare potential bursary recipients to make a smooth transition from high school to university.

REAP’s network of volunteer representatives begin distributing application forms to Grade 11 pupils in rural schools around September every year. All students are welcome to apply; however the representatives will also work with schools to recruit students who have demonstrated a consistently high level of academic performance.

The closing date for applications is the end of January of the following year, i.e. just as pupils begin their Matric year. REAP will then contact students who they think may be a good fit for the programme by April or May. The shortlisted candidates are asked to provide their mid-year Grade 12 results before the end of July.

Students whose results are found to be satisfactory will be called for an interview in September and October, with provisional acceptance into the programme being communicated by SMS in December. Final acceptance is subject to the students’ year-end results being confirmed.

REAP is funded by a number of funding partners including NSFAS, FNB, Distell Foundation, Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, Absa, JP Morgan, and the National Lottery Fund.


Application Due Date
31 January 2018


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