Donors open their wallets for student funding

Students are receiving increased funding from donors who are supporting SA universities financially. 
Image: Eric Malema / Sunday Times

Philanthropists are increasing their donations to SA universities, with nearly five out of 10 specifying the money be spent on student funding.

This is according to the latest “Annual Survey of Philanthropy in Higher Education”, which reveals that philanthropists gave more than R1.7bn to 11 local universities in 2017.

After student funding (49%), the distribution of funds received by purpose was 23% for research, 8% each for “teaching and learning” and “community engagement”, and small proportions for infrastructure and other purposes.

The survey was conducted under the auspices of Inyathelo: The SA Institute for Advancement. Research was sponsored by the US-based Kresge Foundation and conducted by Dr Sean Jones of EduActive Solutions.

There were 9,357 donors in the year under review. This was an increase of nearly 5,000 donors between 2013 and 2017.

The report noted: “The increase was partly attributable to the inclusion of a further university in the sample (from 10 to 11), but also reflects a significant incline in the number of donors across the sample over the five-year period.”

The university with the lowest number of philanthropic contributors in 2017 had 107 donors and the university with the highest number reported 2,157 donors.

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