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Wits chairs national forum to tackle student finance issues

- Wits University

Ismail Soobader will chair the Board of the SA Student Finance Forum (SASFF – the Forum) until 2027.

Ismail Soobader

The Forum aims to collectively address common problems and to find common solutions within the network of colleagues from student finance administration functions across Forum members.

The Forum is a registered non-profit comprising institutions of higher learning in South Africa. Currently, 26 universities and 52 TVET (technical and vocational education and training) colleges are members.

The Forum also works with private sector credit control and financial service providers and collection agencies.

Ismail Soobader and his team in the Wits Student Finance and Fees Office assist thousands of Wits students with their finance-related matters. The team encounter first-hand the pressures and frustrations that students face when it comes to academic financing.

“Wits is the only university that works with its student body to ensure that students in debt still get to celebrate the milestone of graduation, with a concession to allow students with a debt of R15 000 or less to graduate, by signing an Acknowledgement of Debt,” says Soobader.

“When you look at the national student debt crisis, one can really commend Wits University for its interventions. I applaud the University for the strides it has made to help mitigate and to manage student debt.”

In his capacity as Manager of the Student Finance and Fees Office, and now as Forum Chair, Soobader seeks best practice solutions to assist students and solve the student debt crisis.

Soobader has worked at Wits University for close to 20 years, in various finance roles. He is an MBA graduate with a passion for student finance and how all spheres of the higher education sector can work together to solve the current student financing crisis.

Amanda Kort, Senior Financial Manager in the Financial Accounting Office, says, “We are so proud of Mr Soobader. Congratulations to him for flying the Wits flag and representing our office and institution at a national level. This new role will support Mr Soobader’s continued commitment to the University and to finding student financing solutions.”

Soobader is now serving a second term on the Forum’s Board, having previously served as Treasurer.