For many South Africans, tertiary education is nothing but a dream. Students, even those who excelled in Matric, often find that universities are just too expensive for them to attend and, with many of South Africa’s universities announcing an average fee increase of 8%, the chasm between students and tertiary studies is only going to get wider.
While there are many options for financial aid out there - NSFAS, scholarships and bursaries offered by both universities and companies - oftentimes students find themselves unable to take advantage of these. Some because their marks are not quite good enough, others because they fall into the 'missing middle', and many more still because even with funding it would still be too expensive.
In January, NSFAS announced that it had paid R1.3 billion in upfront registration fees for underprivileged students, which is no small thing, but the sad reality is that it just isn’t enough. There will still be many brilliant minds denied access to tertiary education because they cannot afford it.
Fortunately, there do exist many initiatives across the country, started by individuals and organisations alike, to help struggling students deal with the financial burden that tertiary education would place upon their shoulders. So if you’re wanting to make a difference, take a look at these initiatives below: maybe you’ll want to contribute to them, or be inspired to start your own fundraiser to help students pay for their tertiary studies.
- Community donations
An initiative started by the students of the Health Sciences Faculty at the University of the Witwatersrand, #ImizamoYethu aims to help alleviate the financial burden on struggling students in that faculty. With many returning students unable to register due to unpaid fees and yet more students unable to afford to attend at all, this fundraising initiative believes that a crisis is looming the South African Health Industry.
#ImizamoYethu will donate all proceeds to the Wits University Phillip V. Tobias Bursary Fund, which makes funding available to any students in need, no matter their field of study.
Contact James Pitt, the coordinator of this initiative, for more information: [email protected]
Partnered with StudyTrust, Feet4Fees sought to raise money for underprivileged students by embarking on an ambitious endeavour: walking from Wits University in Johannesburg to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, a distance of roughly 1000 kilometres. Fifteen students left Wits on 1 December 2016 and arrived at NMMU on 19 December, raising almost R7 million for tertiary education funding along the way.
Feet4Fees aims to continue to raise money for students in the future, and you can help. Donate to StudyTrust at their donation page
It doesn’t take an organisation to make a difference - individuals do it all the time. In January, the Kilpriver Taxi Association donated to help an underprivileged Matric student to be able to afford to study further. Additionally, former students from disadvantaged high schools often assist Matrics in affording tertiary education, such as Keke Supi from Ikaelelo Secondary School, who helped Madingane Olifant go on to study Hospitality.
If you want to help underprivileged students be able to afford tertiary education, consider donating to one of the initiatives mentioned above, or take a leaf out of Keke Supi and the Kilpriver Taxi Associations’ books and get involved yourself. Contact local schools and ask about providing those in need with financial assistance for their tertiary education.