The University of Johannesburg's (UJ) 'Missing Middle' fundraising campaign received a generous eight (8) million rand cash investment from one of South Africa's major financial institutions, Absa.
Absa's investment was secured to support students who are in the 'missing middle' and hence do not qualify for NSFAS.
"We empathise with the plight of many students whose parents cannot afford to provide for all their needs at university and the limited resources at the disposal of universities," said Dr Reaan Immelman: Head of Education from Absa
At the time of its launch in February 2016, the 'Missing Middle' campaign was one of the biggest fundraising campaigns ever undertaken by a South African institution of higher learning. The campaign secured, in 2018, R130M through the collective efforts of the University management, working with Council and the UJ Student Representative Council (UJSRC). As a result, the University was able to assist close to 5000 'missing middle' students to pay registration and tuition fees for the 2018 academic year.
"For 2018, we had set ourselves the target of raising R160M. We have managed to exceed the halfway mark through generous contributions from business and industry, the public sector and our suppliers. We will continue these efforts during the remainder of 2018 to expand our support to academically deserving 'missing middle' students who are in dire need for financial assistance. This is not a donation, it is an investment into the future of our nations," said Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UJ.
Dr Immelman stated that Absa feel a responsibility to continue with contributions while long-term solutions to higher education funding are being developed. "We trust that this contribution will assist UJ to make quality education more accessible to the youth of South Africa," Immelman said.
Prof Marwala concluded: "We are deeply grateful to business and industry, and the public sector for their timely response and generous contributions that propels UJ to reach its goals for the "Missing Middle". It is important for the students to acknowledge the commitment and the contribution that the private sector is making towards the funding of higher education, which Absa has demonstrated with this investment. However, I want to make a further appeal, to other corporates, for contributions to this vital cause. By giving generously to the 'Missing Middle' campaign, we are collectively building, shaping and empowering the country's future leaders."