The Wits SRC’s #Access campaign has so far fallen short of its intended R10 million target, raising R4.8 million over the last eight months.
The campaign, was launched to assist students who fall into the “missing middle”, a term used to describe students who do not qualify for NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme), funding but still cannot afford university fees.
SRC secretary general Fasiha Hassan believes the campaign has faltered due to political uncertainty in universities which has discouraged corporate donors.
“It is very heart-breaking because here we are trying to seek sustainable solutions to the issues in higher education only to have the door shut in our faces by the private sector,”.
Until now the money donated has gone towards assisting students with their accommodation and tuition. A portion of the fund has also been allocated to clearing the existing debt of some students. Hassan said that students belonging to the missing middle were prioritised first and then other students were included.
“Those who were rejected from NSFAS because they fell above the R120 000 cap were then included, we also had various other elements such as household income,” said Hassan.
She added that the SRC, through its Humanitarian Fund board, also looked at students’ academic performance to fund students who potentially could secure bursaries, as well as third-year and final-year students, “because they are going to finish their degree, in theory, and be able to pay back and donate”. Fields that were generally under-funded were also prioritised.
The SRC will be opening applications for 2016 in the next three months.
Wits Vuvuzela: #AccessCampaign Accommodation crisis temporarily resolved, May 17, 2016
Wits Vuvuzela: #ACCESS Campaign: Where are we now?, March 4, 2016