New Funding Model Will Avail Loans To “Missing Middle” Students


Every year, more individuals want to pursue Higher Education. However, securing funding to cover tuition fees can be a very stressful and challenging process, especially for students who form part of the ‘missing middle”.



Most universities in South Africa have significantly increased their tuition and registration fees over the past few years.

Although government has made progress in providing funding to students who come from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds, funding for missing middle students remains a critical challenge.

The “missing middle” refers to those students who come from working-class households that do not qualify for funds from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme while at the same time, they cannot afford higher education.

Earlier this year, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande emphasised that the extent of student debt posed a serious threat to the future sustainability of the country's higher education institutions.

Speaking about measures government is taking to help missing middle students, Minster Nzimande revealed that his department is currently working to finalise a new comprehensive student funding model.

The minister expressed:

No one should be excluded from university because of not being able to afford to attend.

This new funding model that the department has been working on is set to avail loans and bursaries and direct these efforts toward students located within the scarce skills categories.

Students will then have to pay back these loans once they have graduated and have entered the labour market and earning substantial money.

He says they have been engaging with banks and will also be approaching public service sector for assistance over the loan scheme that will finance these students.

The department said there have been engagements with banks about the possibility of a loan scheme will be supported by government guarantees.

Nzimande noted that they are working on policies that will allow these loans to be accessible regardless of what income they generate and receive. 


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missing middle students in a lecture hall

Annually, tuition fees increase and this poses a challenge to students who fall in the missing middle students, who are without funding. Fortunately, the Higher Education sector has come up with means to help alleviate the burden and stress that comes with not having funding options.





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