2016 Wits SRC supports the missing middle
Approximately 10% of Wits students are National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) beneficiaries. However, a significant number of our students do not qualify for NSFAS because they are part of what is known as the ‘missing middle’. These students are from families whose incomes are above the NSFAS threshold but they are unable to afford university fees. Their household income ranges from about R120 000 per annum to approximately R400 000 per annum.
Responding to this, the SRC of 2015/2016 launched the Wits SRC Humanitarian fund, known as the #Access campaign. “The ‘missing middle’ are students referred to as being ‘too poor to be rich and too rich to be poor’,” said SRC President Ms Nompendulo Mkhatshwa, in her address to hundreds of parents and students attending the 2016 Wits Welcome Day for new students. The SRC said that it hoped to assist approximately 8000 students to pay for their tuition, accommodation and/or transport fees.
The campaign launched with a major donation of R2 million from Nedbank. Anton de Wet: Managing Executive, Client Engagement at Nedbank, says the donation is in line with the bank’s commitment to tertiary education in South Africa. “We have been working with Wits to find a sustainable funding solution for higher education in South Africa.
We are committed to continue this work with Wits and other stakeholders. We wish the SRC every success in their efforts with the #Access campaign and are delighted to donate the first R2 million towards reaching this goal.” Major individual donors to this fund include Professor Adam Habib, Wits Chancellor Justice Dikgang Moseneke and Advocate George Bizos. By the end of February 2016, R3, 2 million had been raised.