Opens Up Opportunities The Study Trust’s Missing Middle Bursary

Education is often considered the key to a brighter future, offering individuals the chance to break free from the cycle of poverty and reach their full potential. However, the cost of higher education has become a significant barrier for many, particularly in countries like South Africa. In this article, we will explore the Study Trust Missing Middle Bursary, a program that aims to bridge the financial gap and empower deserving students to pursue their dreams.

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The Missing Middle in South African Higher Education

In South Africa, the higher education landscape is characterized by its unique challenges. While there are government scholarships for financially disadvantaged students, many deserving individuals fall into the “missing middle” category. These are students who do not qualify for government assistance due to their parents’ income being above the threshold for financial aid, yet they still struggle to afford the ever-increasing costs of tertiary education.

As a result, many students find themselves in a precarious situation. The cost of tuition, textbooks, accommodation, and daily expenses can quickly become overwhelming, leading some to abandon their educational dreams altogether. This is where organizations like the Study Trust step in, offering financial relief and support through bursaries.

The Study Trust: A Beacon of Hope

The Study Trust is a South African non-profit organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to students who face financial barriers to pursuing their education. Established in 1974, the organization has a long-standing commitment to ensuring that no deserving student is denied access to higher education due to financial constraints. The Study Trust offers a range of bursaries, one of which is the Missing Middle Bursary.

The Missing Middle Bursary

The Missing Middle Bursary, administered by the Study Trust, is a lifeline for students who fall into the gap between government assistance and the ability to afford higher education independently. This program is designed to empower students by alleviating the financial burden that often threatens to derail their academic pursuits.

Key Features of the Missing Middle Bursary

1. Financial Assistance: The Missing Middle Bursary provides financial support to eligible students, covering various aspects of their educational expenses, including tuition fees, textbooks, and living expenses.

2. Academic Merit: While financial need is a primary criterion, the program also considers academic merit, ensuring that deserving students who excel in their studies are not overlooked.

3. Broad Eligibility: The bursary is open to a wide range of courses and fields of study, including undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, diplomas, and certificates. This inclusivity enables students from various academic backgrounds to benefit.

4. Renewability: In some cases, the bursary is renewable, meaning that students can receive support throughout their academic journey, as long as they continue to meet the criteria and make satisfactory progress in their studies.

5. Holistic Support: The Study Trust does not just provide financial aid; they also offer academic and psychosocial support to help students succeed in their studies.

How to Apply for the Missing Middle Bursary

Applying for the Study Trust Missing Middle Bursary is a straightforward process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help potential applicants get started:

1. Eligibility Check: Before applying, it’s essential to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria outlined by the Study Trust. Typically, the bursary is open to South African citizens who fall within the “missing middle” category.

2. Gather Required Documents: The application process requires several documents, including:

  • A certified copy of your South African ID or birth certificate.
  • Proof of family income, including payslips or affidavits.
  • Academic transcripts or records.
  • A detailed motivational letter explaining your financial need and academic goals.
  • Any other documentation as specified by the Study Trust.

3. Online Application: Visit the Study Trust website at and navigate to the Missing Middle Bursary application page. Complete the online application form, ensuring that you provide accurate and honest information.

4. Submission: Once you’ve filled out the application form and uploaded the necessary documents, submit your application as per the guidelines provided on the website.

5. Await Notification: After submission, the Study Trust will review all applications. If you are shortlisted, you may be invited for an interview or further assessment. Be sure to check your email regularly for updates on your application status.

6. Interview and Selection: Shortlisted candidates will undergo an interview process, where they have the opportunity to discuss their financial needs, academic goals, and commitment to their education.

7. Award Announcement: Successful applicants will be notified of their selection and the amount of financial support they will receive. The Study Trust’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.

8. Support and Progress Reporting: Recipients of the Missing Middle Bursary will benefit from not only financial support but also academic guidance and mentorship. The Study Trust will closely monitor their progress throughout the academic year.

Impact and Success Stories

The Study Trust’s Missing Middle Bursary has made a significant impact on the lives of countless students across South Africa. By providing financial assistance and guidance, it has empowered individuals to overcome financial barriers and achieve their educational dreams. Here are a few success stories that exemplify the program’s transformative impact:

  • Thandeka’s Journey to Becoming a Nurse

Thandeka, a young aspiring nurse from a low-income family, faced a considerable challenge when it came to funding her nursing studies. Her family’s income was just above the threshold for government assistance, leaving her in the “missing middle.” The Missing Middle Bursary changed her life. With financial support from the Study Trust, Thandeka was able to complete her nursing degree and is now working as a registered nurse, making a meaningful contribution to her community’s healthcare.

  • Sipho’s Pursuit of an Engineering Degree

Sipho’s dream was to become an engineer, but the costs of studying for this demanding profession were overwhelming. He was determined to overcome the financial hurdles and excel academically. Thanks to the Missing Middle Bursary, Sipho not only completed his engineering degree but also received a scholarship for postgraduate studies. Today, he is an accomplished engineer and a source of inspiration to aspiring young engineers in his community.

  • Nokwanda’s Passion for Social Work

Nokwanda had a passion for social work and a desire to help those in her community facing adversity. However, her financial circumstances made her education goals seem out of reach. The Missing Middle Bursary provided her with the means to pursue her degree in social work. Nokwanda is now a dedicated social worker, providing support and advocacy for vulnerable individuals and families.

Challenges and Opportunities

While the Study Trust’s Missing Middle Bursary is an invaluable resource for many South African students, there are still challenges to be addressed. These challenges include:

1. Limited Funding: The demand for bursaries often exceeds available funds, leaving many deserving applicants without financial support.

2. Access and Awareness: Not all eligible students are aware of the opportunities provided by the Missing Middle Bursary. Efforts should be made to reach out to potential applicants in underserved areas.

3. Ongoing Support: The program’s success is not solely dependent on the financial aid provided. Offering continued mentorship and academic support can further enhance the chances of students completing their education and finding meaningful employment.

4. Scaling the Program: Expanding the program to accommodate more students would have a broader positive impact on South African society. Public and private sector collaboration could help achieve this.


The Study Trust’s Missing Middle Bursary is a beacon of hope for countless South African students who find themselves caught in the financial gap between government assistance and self-sufficiency. By providing financial support, mentorship, and academic guidance, this program enables students to pursue their educational dreams and contribute meaningfully to society.

As South Africa strives to address economic disparities and empower its youth, initiatives like the Missing Middle Bursary play a crucial role in transforming lives and building a brighter future. It is not just a financial investment; it is an investment in the potential of individuals and the nation as a whole. As this program continues to evolve and expand, it holds the promise of breaking the cycle of poverty and advancing educational opportunities for all.

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