In just three months, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has reached its year-end target of R60 million to support 3,500 academically deserving ‘Missing Middle’ students.
At the time of its launch in February 2016, the ‘Missing Middle’ campaign was the biggest fundraising campaign ever undertaken by a South African institution of higher learning. The campaign aims to support students who are ‘too rich’ to qualify for government support, but ‘too poor’ to afford tuition fees and qualify for commercial loans.
“The #feesmustfall campaign in 2015 highlighted the funding challenges facing all South African universities. However, we are acutely aware as a major national university located in the country’s economic heartland, that we have a particular duty to thousands of our students who no longer qualify for government support via NSFAS, but whose families cannot afford to put them through university,” says Prof Ihron Rensburg, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, UJ.
The University working with the UJ Student Representative Council (UJSRC) has assisted 3,500 students by paying their registration fees and minimum initial payments for the 2016 academic year. However, these students still require support for the balance of their fees and other needs. The average cost of funding a UJ student for a year currently stands at R85 000. This includes tuition, accommodation, books and other living allowances.
“I am deeply grateful to our Council, alumni and convocation, the UJ Student Advisory Council (UJSAC) and UJSRC, University Executives and Senior University Leaders, staff, students, business and industry, and the public sector for their timely response and extremely generous contributions that have helped us reach this milestone. I do though still appeal for further contributions to this honorable cause for it is in this manner that we demonstrate our commitment to human solidarity and shared human progress. By giving generously to the ‘Missing Middle’ campaign we are also concretely contributing to shaping and empowering the country’s future leaders,” Prof Rensburg said.
Prof Rensburg concludes: “Every year, as we are doing right now at our June our graduation ceremonies where we are graduating a further 2,222 students following the 9,046 who graduated in March/April, UJ is proud to graduate more than 6,000 first-generation university students who will go on to make immeasurable differences in their families, in their communities, in our nation and in our world.”