University of Limpopo alumni raise R8.5m to fund ‘missing middle’

The University of Limpopo alumni have raised R8.5-million to assist paying fees for some of the “missing middle” students.

The missing middle refers to students from financially struggling families but not poor enough to access NSFAS funding

The former UL students raised the money at an exclusive gala dinner at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand. The aim was to raise at least R3-million but then so good was the evening that the donations nearly tripled.

University of Limpopo registrar Professor Kwena Masha confirmed that 200 students who will benefit from the funds have already been identified. He said the helping hand will be extended to more needy students going forward.

Masha said the funds were aimed at students who come from family backgrounds that earn above the threshold set for government funding through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) but could still not afford to pay for their own fees.

He said more fundraising events should be expected in 2024, emphasising that there would be no rest until all academically deserving students facing financial constraints received the financial support they needed to complete their studies.

Professor Mahlo Mokgalong, UL vice-chancellor and principal, said they would not ignore the missing middle horde.

Overwhelming support

“We will never abandon the ‘missing middle’ students. We must support them to always achieve their academic dreams. Please join us in funding these students whom NSFAS cannot assist, and whose parents cannot afford their academic expenses. Our gratitude goes to the many friends of the University of Limpopo who have generously donated to the aid of these students,” said Mokgalong.

The banquet expected at least 150 guests. A seat at a table was priced at R10 000 and a table for 10 reservation at R100 000.

Johannes Selepe, acting senior publications practitioner at the university, said they received overwhelming support. The alumni and friends of the university donated funds raging from R10 000 to R5-million, Selepe said. He praised Standard Bank for the highest contribution.

Donald Selamolela, UL Alumni and Convocation president, said the initiative started on a good footing. He pleaded for more people to open their hearts to help ease the financial burden on students.

“We appreciate those who contributed to this good cause. We welcome contributions of any amount, and we urge those who were unable to attend the event to reach out to the university and make their contributions,” said Selamolela.

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