Wits SRC will swop protests for fundraising
Wits University’s Students’ Representative Council (SRC) has abandoned protests under the #FeesMustFall movement and instead opted to launch a massive fundraising campaign to cover costs for the “missing middle” category of students.
The campaign, called #Access, will focus on raising R10 million and will be launched on the university’s east campus today.
“The ‘missing middle’ are students referred to as being ‘too poor to be rich and too rich to be poor’,” the SRC said.
“They are students who do not meet the criteria for funding by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas), yet cannot afford to pay their fees on their own. Some come from households where the combined income is as little as R120 000 per annum. These are not middle class students.”
The issue of the missing middle remains a great challenge for universities, despite government setting aside an extra R6.9 billion to fund students, in addition to Nsfas’ R10 billion budget.
At this time last year, the SRC was raising what eventually amounted to about R3.5 million as part of its “one million, one month” campaign, set up to raise money for students who could not receive assistance from Nsfas.
Government, university vice-chancellors and others have been urging students across the country to stop protesting and return to lectures.
For the most part, the call appears to have been successful, as registration has proceeded without disruption – with the exception of some institutions in Gauteng where students have protested primarily against the outsourcing of university support workers.
Wits students during the #FeesMustFall protests on Wednesday