The University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) fundraising campaign has raised R100 million to support the studies of almost 2,500 missing middle students.
UJ related that it secured the R100 million to support students who do not qualify for NSFAS, with a generous ten million rand cash donation from FirstRand Foundation.
Sizwe Nxasana, the chairperson of FirstRand Empowerment Fund (FREF) said FREF has a very specific mandate to contribute to a strengthened economy and a better South Africa through promoting and funding education especially among the historically disadvantaged South Africans.
“FREF represents a significant piece of the endowment created by the group’s successful BEE scheme,” he said.
Nxasana added that FREF’s contribution to the nation’s universities fits perfectly with FREF’s mandate.
“Many of us have watched our tertiary education system struggle with violence and disruption over the past year and those of us who have benefited from that education system in the past, need to step up and ensure the next generation receives the same benefit. We hope that this contribution ensures that those students that want to continue studying and complete their exams can do so,” he remarked.
Commenting, UJ’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Ihron Rensburg related that the contribution is in addition to FirstRand Foundation’s previous contribution of R6 million over three years.
Prof Rensburg said it’s encouraging to see the private sector investing in education.
“I continue to be astounded at the extraordinary goodwill that has been shown to our University and our students. It is important for students to acknowledge the commitment and the contribution made by the private sector towards the funding of higher education, which the FirstRand Foundation has demonstrated with this donation,” stated Prof Rensburg.
The Vice-Chancellor stressed that the FeesMustFall protests show the funding challenges facing all South African universities.
He added that the University’s Council and Executive Management fully support the goal of free education for the poor and the implementation of a funding model which will enable access to missing middle students.
“We are deeply grateful to business and industry, and the public sector for their timely response and generous contributions that have helped UJ reach its goals for the missing middle. We are truly humbled, honoured and inspired, he proclaimed.