Q: Hi FirstStep.me,
I currently just finished my 1st year at AFDA film school in Cape Town. The tuition fees are extremely high and I will be unable to pay for my 2nd and 3rd year of study. I just want to inquire what I can do about my problem, and what are some of the solutions? I have heard of situations where a company pays for your studies and you work for them after you are done? If this is true could you please point me in the right direction, I am desperate.
A: Hi there,
Financing your studies is an expensive process. Getting a student loan, financing your studies by getting a job (full or part-time) or being able to access a scholarship or bursary are all options and in many cases very difficult options. The few individuals who have the financial affordability to pay for their studies through their own means because they are financially stable are becoming a smaller percentage by the day. In many countries governments do subsidise student’s studies or even provide specialised student loans which are easier to manage than one from a finance house. Whatever the means to funding an education, the issue is the student wants to complete his/her studies and the institution needs their money. It’s a global problem at the moment and finding logical steps to solve the issue is becoming a conundrum of sorts.

Here are some options:
1. You can apply to a film company and ask them to employ you, in order to pay for your studies. Further you can find part-time employment to pay for your studies, this doesn’t have to be within the film industry. Also cutting your costs as a student and working with a focus is really a huge benefit. If you pay for your fees with your own money from working hard it puts your qualification into perspective as it’s your hard earned money on the line.
2. You can organise a paid internship at a film company to pay for your studies.
3. You could get a full time job and pursue your studies part-time.
4. You could apply for a student loan and service the interest on that student loan with a part-time/full time job. Most student loans require you pay for you loan once you start working after your studies. So there is an onus on individuals to start working ASAP after graduation, basically no time for a travel gap year…sad we know!
5. Apply for a bursary or scholarship.
In the case of your question, yes companies award bursaries to individuals and in some cases offer employment afterwards. This takes the stress of looking for employment away from individuals and allows companies a return on investment (ROI) with the individual to whom they have awarded a bursary. However finding a scholarship/bursary, a company to hire you (either part-time or fulltime) and even employment after completing one’s studies to start paying off a student loan is heavily rested on the individual who is seeking assistance.
In terms of AFDA, contact the student finance and careers office respectively and ask them to help you to firstly make a payment plan for your studies along with pointing you towards relevant film/production studios that may employ you on some level be it as a fulltime, part-time or on an internship basis.
Relevant information and links:
1. NFVF (SA) bursary and scholarship options.
2. The South African governments National Student Financial Aid Scheme.