ABSA’s R12 million boost for UWC student bursaries
Responding to the national outcry for free higher education, ABSA bank has done their bit by increasing their Barclays Africa Group CEO fund to R210 million this year. The fund increase will result in 3000 university students in SA getting scholarships for the 2017 academic year - 300 of them at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), where R12 million has been made available for funding.
Using a combination of academic performance and financial need, universities identify qualifying students and disburse the funds after consultation with Absa. Many of the qualifying students for the bursaries either have very limited financial resources or fall within the “missing middle” category of students whose parents or guardians can only afford to pay a portion of the required university fees.
Speaking at the official handover of the cheque, UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, said the University welcomes ABSA’s assistance, and the opportunities it will provide for students.
“I am an educationist by profession,” he said; “a career educationist that believes in the transformative power of education, the power to change lives forever - especially in South Africa.”
The 18-year relationship between ABSA and UWC - and the greater need of the students the University serves - has resulted in the University receiving a little more funding than the other two sister universities.
Clinton Clark, Head of Coastal Regions, ABSA Corporate and Investment Banking said the bank was proud of its long association with the University.
“ABSA is no stranger to UWC - and for once I am not here to discuss your overdraft,” he joked. “We realize the impact UWC has in our community and today is that day to celebrate that. I am proud to officially hand over a cheque that is guaranteed to change lives. ”
Funding Futures, Changing Lives
Demi Meyer from Goodwood, Kamohelo Mokoena from Parow and Anelisiwe Majola from Umtata in the Eastern Cape are three of the 300 UWC students who would benefit from the ABSA scholarship.
Majola, who is doing her 2nd year of Applied Geology, said she was surprised and excited when she heard the news of ABSA’s help.
For Meyer, a student in Medical Biosciences, the bursary has proved to be very helpful. “At the end of last year I ran out of funds - and this bursary came at the right time,” she said.
As a member of the missing middle, BSc Water Science student Mokoena did not qualify for NSFAS support, and her parents were struggling to afford her fees. “I applied for many bursaries but did not qualify,”she said, “and I am truly grateful for this opportunity.”
These and many other lives will be changed by ABSA’s funding - and not just for students, but for their communities as well.
“Education allows for a better future for families and communities - and develops leaders to guide us to that future,” Prof Pretorius concluded. “We are grateful to ABSA for buying into our vision of the transformative power of education, and we are truly fortunate to have friends and associates like these.”