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25 April 2019 | Story Mamosa Makaya

Since 2016, the University of the Free State Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) has received a grant from First National Bank worth R2 498 000, which supports tertiary bursaries for students with disabilities. Bursary holders are funded through CUADS, as the administrator of the bursaries.
  
These are students enrolled for various academic programmes who require academic assistance and/or assistive devices such as electronic handheld magnifiers, laptops, and hearing aids. The FNB grant also covers tuition, accommodation, study material and books, and meals.  The success of the grant is already evident, with one of the recipients having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in December 2018. A second student was capped at the April 2019 graduations with a BSc Honours in Quantity Surveying.
 
Supporting the principles of the ITP

The UFS received the grant from FNB in instalments, starting in the 2016 academic year to date, supporting the needs of 40 disabled students. This grant and the work of CUADS speaks to and supports the principles of the Integrated Transformation Plan (ITP), namely inclusivity, transformation, and diversity. The vision of the Universal Access work stream is to enable the UFS to create an environment where students with disabilities can experience all aspects of student life equal to their non-disabled peers. The ITP provides for the recognition of the rights of people with disabilities as an important lesson in social justice and an opportunity to reinforce university values.

The successful administration of the grant to benefit past and present students is a ‘feather in the cap’ of CUADS, and is a shining example of the impact of public private investment and the endless possibilities that open up when there is a commitment to developing future leaders in academic spaces, allowing them to thrive by creating a learning environment that is welcoming and empowering. 



News Archive

UFS receives R10 million in student funding from Absa
2017-06-19

 

Description: UFS receives R10 million in student funding from Absa Tags: UFS receives R10 million in student funding from Absa

From the left: Asive Dlanjwa (UFS SRC) Prof Francis Petersen, Fikemini Dlamini,
Bertie Smith and Lesley Afrika (student beneficiary 2016-2017)

 

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 Fikemini Dlamini, 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.”



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