University of Johannesburg has raised R31 million in the hope of assisting students who are considered “too rich” to qualify for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and “too poor” to afford tuition costs.
The UJ Missing Middle Campaign that was launched on Thursday, was aimed to raise at least R60 million by the end of the year.
UJ vice chancellor Ihron Rensburg said “universities need to empower the country’s next generation of leaders through academic studies which led to sought-after qualifications”.
Rensburg also added by saying that the #feesmustfall campaign last year had successfully highlighted the funding challenges facing South African universities.
University of Johannesburg had about 5 000 students classified as being part of the “missing middle”.
Tuition, residence fees, books, living allowance
The UJ Missing Middle Campaigns aim was to pay for each student’s tuition for the entire year, which cost about R85 000 on average.
The Campaign would cover tuition and residence fees, books, and a living allowance.
In January, Witwatersrand University student representative council (SRC) launched an access campaign which aimed to raise funds for students who also fell into the “missing middle”.
By February 21 2016 , the students had managed to raise R3 million towards the cause for covering the student funds.
In October last year 2015, universities across the country embarked on nationwide student protests against the rising cost of tertiary education. Towards the end of that month, President Jacob Zuma held a meeting with university vice-chancellors and student leaders from different organisations at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Meanwhile, the SRC at the University of the Free State had raised more than R1.2 million shortly after launching a similar campaign last month. Its aim was to raise R5 million by April.
“While the meeting was taking place, thousands of students from various universities across the province marched and gathered at the Union Buildings under the #FeesMustFall campaign. They were calling for a 0% fee increase for the 2016 academic year, for historical debt to be scrapped and for the government to make true its promise of free quality education, in the students’ lifetime”.
After the meeting, President Jacob Zuma made an announcement that there would be no fee increases for the 2016 academic year.