Canon Collins Thekgo Bursary helps students graduate

A non-profit initiative wants to help humanities students graduate regardless of historic debt.

Each year as graduations roll around, some students watch on despondently, knowing they will miss theirs because of fees owed to the university. A group of professionals is looking to put an end to that for some.

The Canon Collins Thekgo Bursary promotes access to higher education and has been assisting students with debt to cover the shortfall needed to get them their academic records.

Graduates patiently waiting for the end of the ceremony. Photo: Colin Hugo/File

One of the founding members of the initiative, Grace Musila told Wits Vuvuzela that the bursary only covers R10 000 of student debt and that humanities students are the focus as funding options remain minimal for these students.

Musila said this year, they are covering students in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and Northwest who have completed their studies. Selection criteria includes academic performance, community participation and financial need.

“Our aim is to support such students to release their academic certificates so they can proceed with other plans, whether that is [to] further[their] studies or pursue employment opportunities,” Musila said.

 Wits University senior manager of financial accounting Amanda Kort told Wits Vuvuzela that the number of students who are eligible to graduate this year but will not be able to due to outstanding debt was estimated to be at 2800 with a total debt of R138m.

Kort said that students with a gross household income of less than R600 000 per annum are assisted by the university. “These students may sign an acknowledgement of debt if they owe less than R15 000 and may enter into a payment arrangement to make payment after they have started working.”

Wits has a Discretionary Fund which students are advised to apply for.  Kort said although funding is not guaranteed, the university can match students with the financial need to donor’s requirements.

For this year, applications for the bursary will close on April 26, and can be submitted here.

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits Chancellor, Dr Judy Dlamini commences the ceremony. Photo: Colin Hugo/file