AN EDUCATIONAL INVESTMENT FOR LOW-INCOME STUDENTS
By: Mbalenhle Sithebe
The South African government together with some unit trusts have established a fund that is intended to help parents invest for their children’s education.
The Fundisa Fund aims to give the gift of education to ordinary South Africans by enhancing the savings made by parents towards their kids’ future education.
This may help bring down the number of students depending on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
Earlier this year, NSFAS ran out of funds and that led to a number of university student protests. The NSFAS chief executive, Msulwa Daca, told City Press (WHEN?) that the fund had collected about R450m from its debtors last year, but more than R570m was still outstanding.
He agreed that it was not easy to trace some former students and it was expensive. He said that they had now enlisted the services of a tracing agency.
Fundisa Fund is an educational savings account that gives an interest of 25% to a quarter of the amount of money saved each year, to a maximum of R600 per child. The bonus is added to an annual savings.
According to the Fundisa Fund site, any South African citizen or permanent resident with an income that does not exceed R180 000 per annum can open an account.
A cleaner at Durban University of Technology, Ncamisile Mthembu (40) said that she was already saving at Ithala for her to teenage children.
She added that she didn’t think it could be much money but it was “better than nothing”.
“Saving is always a good idea especially when the children are still young,” said senior nurse Gladice Sizane (68).
She added that saving R100 of grant money monthly starting as early as possible would make a big contribution towards the child’s education.
“If ordinary South Africans can adapt to saving money, no matter how little, our children will be guaranteed a better future,” said Sizane.
The last year’s Fundisa beneficiary bonus payment was R6.3 million. The bonus payment was shared among 24 997 beneficiaries from low-income families.
Fundisa is sponsored by the Department of Higher Education, NFSAS and 11 other sponsors.
The Fund is available from Standard Bank, Nedgroup Investments and Absa.