Bursary fund in partnership with Absa lifts financial burden for deserving beneficiaries
A Nelson Mandela University student whose mother resigned from her job to access her retirement savings to pay her daughter’s tuition fees, has been named among those who will benefit from a R17-million bursary fund.
A partnership between Absa bank and the university will see R17-million handed out in the next three years to pay selected students’ tuition fees and more than 100 students having last year’s debts written off.
This year, NMU selected 92 students who will each receive up to R73 000 towards their studies, totalling R5-million.
Already, R2-million has been dished out to 113 students, who owe an average of about R20 000 in tuition fees for last year.
Among the students at the handing-over ceremony at the NMU indoor sports centre was grateful second-year psychology student Mervinia Ambraal, 21, who said the bursary would go a long way to better her family’s circumstances.
“Last year, my mother had to resign from her job as a social worker to receive her payout, which she used to pay my tuition last year,” Ambraal said.
“Earlier this year, my dad had to sell his car to pay for part of my tuition for this year.
“So I can’t begin to explain how grateful I am to have received this bursary.
“It is truly a blessing, because I did not apply for this so it must be a partnership between Absa, the university and the Lord that made this possible.”
Second-year social work student Dimpho Mokhoantle, 26, said: “My family and I are still struggling to comprehend the extent of this.
“On the day I received the e-mail, my mother was literally on her way to apply for a loan to pay outstanding fees so I can get my results and apply for a bursary.
“But then I called her to tell her the good news, and she just cried.
“I really can’t tell you how much this means. My mother struggles, being a single mom. This takes the burden off her and I am finally able to focus solely on my studies.”
Bursary recipients were selected by NMU officials according to their academic performance [above 55%], leadership attributes, and contributions within NMU as well as extra curricular activities.
NMU vice-chancellor for teaching and learning Professor Denise Zinn said through the bursary fund, Absa had risen to the challenge of addressing issues of unemployment, education and funding.
“Our core business at this institution is education and Absa has aligned itself with that purpose.
“Absa can truly be considered a part of the NMU family through the way it is taking care of students,” Zinn said.
Absa provincial managing executive Tshiwela Mhlantla said: “Absa is proud to partner with NMU in making it possible for young people to fulfil their academic potential, enabling them to give back to society once they graduate.
“Our share growth strategy identifies education and skills as one of its core functions.
“It is an aspect that cannot be achieved on our own, hence partnerships like this are essential.”