Pooling resources to benefit students


Since 1992, DAFI (Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Programme)  has provided scholarships to more than 6 000 deserving refugees worldwide to study at universities in their host country and, more recently, in their country of origin upon return. Financed by the German Government, DAFI provides an opportunity for refugees to pursue tertiary while outside their country of origin. DAFI provides access to education and skills for refugees, vital towards the reconstruction of conflict affected countries.

Who can apply

In order to be eligible, candidates should normally meet all of the following criteria:
  • Be in possession of a valid refugee permit/section 24;
  • Have successfully completed  secondary school with grades above the average standard;
  • Have no other means of support for tertiary education studies;
  • Should be below 35 years old for undergraduate studies and below 40 years old for Master’s studies;
  • Must be admitted at a government owned institutions for full time studies  and should have obtained a letter of admission or provisional admission letter;
  • Study courses, such as medicine or engineering, are exceptionally granted on a case-by-case basis and normally only to students who have demonstrated outstanding academic performance.

Requirements and priorities

  • Priority is given to refugees with specific needs, such as refugees with disabilities.
  • Women are encouraged to apply in order to achieve gender-balance;
  • The student’s proven academic performance;
  • Students who had to interrupt their studies due to flight, and who possess proof of previous university or college studies in their country of origin are encouraged to apply;
  • No more than one scholarship will  be provided to a single refugee family;
  • Students who choose shorter and less costly courses from Government institutions with high chances of employment will receive a higher consideration in the selection;
  • Students attending courses from private institutions will not be considered;
  • Supporting documentation such as previous educational qualifications, a copy of valid refugee permit, letter of admission from a government institution must be attached to the DAFI application form.
Due to funding constraints, the number of scholarships is limited; Qualified candidates who are not selected to join the DAFI programme are encouraged to take initiatives for identifying alternative sponsorships.

Selection criteria

  • Applications are received up to the deadline and assessed for compliance with the criteria;
  • Those who meet the basic criteria are screened in line with the requirements and priorities outlined above and shortlisted;
  • Shortlisted candidates are submitted by UNHCR’s Partner StudyTrust to a panel consisting of representatives from UNHCR,
  • Deutscher Akademisher Austausch Dienst (DAAD), German Embassy, UNICEF and UNISA upon request;
  • Short listed candidates are called for an interview by the panel which normally takes place in October;
  • Selected candidates are informed by telephone and in writing by the end of October of the Committee’s decisions;
  • The list of successful applicants for the 2018 bursary will be made available at the StudyTrust office, UNHCR offices, and at UNHCR   partners’ offices (list attached).
  • Due to the large number of applications, StudyTrust will not be able to inform all applicants who have not been selected.

What it covers

It covers:
  • Annual registration/tuition fees;
  • Annual book allowance;
  • A monthly subsistence allowance covering basic expenses, such as food, local travel and rent during the semester.
DAFI Monitoring
  • StudyTrust monitors DAFI students’ academic performances with the respective institution at least twice a year and takes appropriate action when required.
Termination of funding
  • Upon completion of studies, i.e. at the month of graduation from university or the educational institution;
  • Continuous poor academic performance and failure to produce academic records at the end of a semester;
  • Fraud, malpractices and dishonesty at examinations, or fraud on enrolment or receipt of multiple scholarships.

How to Apply

Download the 2020 application form here. Since 2014, the DAFI scholarship programme is implemented through StudyTrust. It is the same DAFI scholarship programme implemented previously by UNHCR directly. NOTE: All applications should be delivered directly to StudyTrust, 10B Clamart Road, Richmond, Johannesburg. Email: dafi.applications@studytrust.org.za Fax: 086 563 7495 Closing date for submitting DAFI application is 31 October. Late applications will not be considered.
About Us
Level 1 QSE B-BBEE Contributor
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45+ Years experience
R600 million+ in bursaries to students

21 000+ Bursaries & scholarships awarded
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Level One (>91%)

StudyTrust is an educational trust and public benefit organisation, that connects learners with potential to their study opportunities.

We administer bursaries and scholarships, provide mentoring and support to help tertiary students thrive academically and personally.


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