The Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme (ISFAP), which is a programme that funds students who form “missing middle”, and who are enrolled for scarce skills degrees in financial science, technology, engineering and medical sectors.

According to Moneyweb, the objectives of the programme is to provide access to university education by giving students grants for their full costs of study coupled with comprehensive support to curb drop out rates.

“It’s a complete package that addresses the skills shortage in the country. Depending on the donations and corporate social investment funds is limiting, looking at the missing middle we need R28 million a year and you can’t achieve that through donations alone,” explained Ikusasa chairman, Sizwe Nxasana.

Moneyweb reports that ISFAP started two years ago and that it funds 1 700 students and has achieved a 92 percent pass rate since its time of operation. Thus far the fund operates in 11 tertiary institutions around the country and plans to expand its programme to all the universities in the country, adds the publication.

Nxasana added that ISFAP was trying to do its part in reducing the unemployment rate by creating an appropriately skilled workforce who already have pathways to potential employers.

“A company could be spending between R5 million to R10 million on bursaries and hoping that students will pass, but typically the average pass rate is between 50 percent and 60 percent. Now you have access to a holistic platform that ensures that students are successful,” added the chairman.

[Source – Moneyweb] [Image – Cole Keister on Unsplash]