From government gap-funding grants for ‘missing-middle’ students to the crowdfunding Feenix platform, South Africans are pulling together to support students on their tertiary journeys.
In response to the spiralling costs of tertiary education, both public and private sector players have acted decisively to alleviate the financial pressures on students and their families. Standard Bank is one of them.
The bank’s Feenix crowdfunding platform enables people and companies to learn about, and make donations to, deserving students at South African universities.
It’s particularly innovative in that it connects vetted students to willing donors in a social media-styled market place. Students are linked to reliable and legitimate sources of funds, while funders can trust that their donations are being transferred directly into academic fees, housing, or even textbook accounts.
It connects vetted students to willing donors in a social media-styled market place
In just three months since its launch, Feenix already has 958 vetted students from 24 universities on its portal. More than 650 private donors have raised R2 million, fully funded 33 students and partially funded 179 more. The most popular faculties funded so far are science and engineering.
It is estimated that 94% of South African households earn below R600 000 a year, the maximum income required to qualify for financial aid at university, however only about 17% of students are funded through current initiatives.
Feenix’s approach to funding connects students directly to funders, closing the gap between those with the ability to enter tertiary education and those with the means to afford it.
The country’s tertiary education funding upheaval in 2016 highlighted the pressing need for creative solutions to help students meet their educational goals.
Furthermore, the #feesmustfall movement highlighted the importance of tertiary education in the lives of South Africans, and the barriers that prevent access to it. There was an enormous sense of wanting to help in whatever way possible, and a frustration at the lack of channels available to provide that help.
More than 650 private donors have raised R2 million, fully funded 33 students and partially funded 179 more
Said Standard Bank’s chief executive officer Sim Tshabalala: “South Africa’s top businesses have been vocal in their support of finding sustainable solutions to the funding dilemma.
“We decided that we needed to put more time and resources into making a positive contribution to South Africa, specifically developing products and services that accurately meet the needs of our customers and the societies in which we work.
“A highly skilled workforce starts with an excellent education system and the means to attain qualifications; to meet the challenges of the future, businesses must put their weight behind real solutions to social and economic problems like the lack of access to funding in education, and we are proud to be associated with Feenix in their efforts to close that gap”, he said.
For more information visit: https://www.feenix.org/