Old Mutual donates R2 million for UCT students

By Jessica Anne Wood

Old Mutual has donated R2 million to the University of Cape Town (UCT) to help cover student expenses. A joint statement released by Old Mutual and UCT prior to the presentation, stated: “Old Mutual believes the private sector has a critical role to play in addressing the tertiary education funding crisis and hopes this contribution will encourage other SA corporates and alumni, locally and internationally, to support university students who are excelling but do not qualify for funding.”

The presentation was made by the CEO of Old Mutual Emerging Markets, Ralph Mupita, an alumnus of UCT to Dr Max Price, vice-chancellor of UCT in the presence of three members of the university’s student representative council.

Speaking at the event Price explained the high cost of tertiary education, especially where accommodation costs are also required. Price noted that one year or tertiary study with accommodation, textbooks and other expenses can end up costing between R100, 000 and R110, 000 per year.

The university has bursary programmes available, and studends can also apply to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), which offers bursaries to students who meet a certain criteria. However, Price highlighted the missing middle. These are people who are not eligible for a NSFAS bursary as they may be regarded as ‘too rich’, yet are unable to pay for tertiary education themselves. Some of the funds presented to UCT today goes towards helping the students in need, following the ongoing #feesmustfall and other related protests.

In the lead up to the presentation, it was reported that UCT needs to save R120 million by 2018. UCT will achieve this through implementing a series of austerity measures between now and 2018.

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