In support of building a more equitable and prosperous Africa, and in response to the plight of students who lack financial aid at universities across the country, Absa Bank handed over a cheque of R10 million to the University of the Free State (UFS) at a ceremony held on the Bloemfontein Campus on 13 June 2017 by the office of Institutional Advancement. The allocation of these funds will assist students who meet the bursary programme criteria (proven financial need, students who are from households with a combined income of less than R1 million per annum, with an academic average of 55% or higher).
Corporate and higher education collaborate
Speaking at the event, rector and vice-chancellor of the UFS Prof Francis Petersen highlighted the important role corporates play in collaborating with educational institutions to help support future professionals who are the future builders of the economy and will later lead industry. “Absa and the UFS enjoy a good relationship and it is our hope that this bursary programme will grow from strength to strength,” he said.
In 2016 alone, Absa Bank disbursed R12 million towards settling outstanding fees for 439 students in four faculties of the UFS. In 2017 the funds will be allocated similarly to cover financial needs of qualifying students. Mr Bertie Smith, Absa management executive: central region said: “The university plays an important role in building future leaders and Absa’s strategy of shared growth supports the focus on education.”
Responding to a greater socioeconomic need
The event was attended by staff of the UFS and delegates from the Absa group, as well as students who were beneficiaries of the Absa Bursary Fund in 2016. Mr FikeminiDlamini, Absa head: public sector business banking, said the bursary programme was born out of the growing need to fund and develop the education of young people, and is a response to the outcry from students across the country in the “Fees Must Fall” movement. He said: “Educating one young person has a knock-on effect that has the potential to alleviate poverty in many families and communities around us.”
Source: University of the Free State