In the past, the Trust’s bursaries met some or all of the cost of tuition fees for needy undergraduates. But now the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is covering fees for many such students. After consultation with the University, the Trustees opted to provide some bursaries for needy students studying for honours degrees and to use the rest of the available funding to provide needy undergraduates with top-up grants for the purchase of textbooks and meals.
This decision means that in 2018 the Margaret Thomas Scholarship has been awarded to a BA (Honours) student, Thando Masiko, while Trust bursaries have been given to four other honours students in the fields of computer science, environmental science and microbiology.
Textbook and meal grants are being provided for seven undergraduate students across a range of disciplines including medicine and engineering. All the students receiving help are from families with gross household incomes below R122,000 (below about £7,200) per annum.
While the new state aid has made a difference, the level of hardship experienced by many poorer students remains a significant problem.
The University has assured the Trustees of the continuing need for the Trust’s support – particularly for a group defined as the “missing middle”, those students who do not qualify for NSFAS funding but are unable to afford higher education owing such factors as large family size relative to household income or coming from a single-parent family.
The University says there are thousands of students from poor households in need of top-up funding for textbooks, meals and accommodation. But the Trust is only able to provide such help for just seven students this year.
To enable the Trust’s valuable work to continue, the Trustees urge alumni and supporters in the UK once again to give as generously as you can. Even the smallest contribution can make a difference.
Please consider a one-off donation or a regular standing order, using the giving form enclosed with this newsletter. Remember gift aid can boost your donation if you are a UK taxpayer.
You may also wish to consider other ways of giving, such as through a legacy. See the Donate page on the Trust’s website at www.ukznuktrust.org for further information.