University of Limpopo alumni hopeful to close missing middle gap

The University of Limpopo Alumni Association plans to fill in the missing middle gap with a possible R3-million student funding.

The association will be hosting a luxurious fundraising dinner event inspired by the Limpopo Alumni Chapter dinner that successfully raised R200 000 earlier in the year.

The fundraising banquet is expected to host 150 guests at the Gallagher Estates at Midrand on Friday. A single seat at the table costs R10 000 and a table for 10 can be reserved for R100 000.

University of Limpopo registrar Kwena Masha said the university will be hosting various events and conducting multiple projects to ensure the funding it aims for is sustainable.

It has not yet concluded the number of students to be funded, as it first wants to monitor the success of the fundraising campaign.

However, the university would make funding available to any student of the institution who meets the criteria.

While final-year students in the missing middle desperately need the funding to get their results, Masha said every other student in the same group needs hope that they would complete their studies.

Missing middle not catered for by NSFAS

He said the missing middle are the students who are slightly outside the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) but still cannot afford to pay for their fees.

“There are a lot of students who are willing to further their studies but are unfortunate because they cannot qualify for state funding because their income is above the criteria that needs to be met for the bursary, but they are [also] not affluent enough to afford university fees,” said Masha.

“No students should be demotivated to further their education because they cannot afford it. This is where we come [in], and that is why we are determined to help raise funds so we would fill this missing middle gap.”

The university will open applications for funding and then analyse them as per criteria. While the dinner is on Friday, the plan is set to continue (with the fundraising campaign) for as long as it is sustainable.

“We are also looking forward to visiting corporates to help us with this fundraising project, because we do not wish for it to be a once-off thing.

“There are students who need this funding every year. We will start funding students in 2024 and later in the same year, we will be hosting events again.”

Donald Salamolela, University of Limpopo Alumni and Convocation president, suggested that alumni and convocation members should make a monthly contribution of any amount to make the funding sustainable.

“Ongoing donor support will play a crucial role in consistently assisting these deserving students who are in financial need but excel academically,” said Salamolela.

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