Missing middle students do not qualify for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) assistance. The fundraising event received a generous cash donation from FirstRand Foundation.
The chairperson of FirstRand Empowerment Fund (FREF), Sizwe Nxasana, said FREF has a very specific mandate to contribute to a strengthened economy and a better South Africa through promoting and funding education, especially among historically disadvantaged South Africans.
He said FREF represents a significant piece of the endowment created by the group’s successful BEE scheme.
“Many of us have watched our tertiary education system struggle with violence and disruption over the past year and those of us who have benefited from that education system in the past need to step up and ensure the next generation receives the same benefit.
“We hope that this contribution ensures that those students that want to continue studying and complete their exams can do so,” said Nxasana.
UJ’s Vice Chancellor and Principal Professor Ihron Rensburg said this contribution is in addition to FirstRand Foundation’s previous contribution of R6 million over three years. He said it was encouraging to see the private sector investing in education.
“I continue to be astounded at the extraordinary goodwill that has been shown to our university and our students. It is important for students to acknowledge the commitment and the contribution made by the private sector towards the funding of higher education, which FirstRand Foundation has demonstrated with this donation,” said Professor Rensburg.
He said the recent wave of Fees Must Fall student demonstrations highlight the funding challenges facing all South African universities.
“The university’s council and executive management fully support the goal of free education for the poor and the implementation of a funding model, which will enable access to missing middle students.
“We are deeply grateful to business and industry, and the public sector for their timely response and generous contributions that have helped UJ reach its goals for the missing middle. We are truly humbled, honoured and inspired,” Rensburg said.