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For the third consecutive year in 2020, the University of Fort Hare has received a R2-million bursary fund from Hillensberg Trust to support academically achieving and financially needy students. 

The Hillensberg Trust was established in the late 1970s and the bursary grant was launched in 2017. The fund targets missing middle students (those too poor to afford university fees but not poor enough to qualify for government (NSFAS)  funding). To be eligible,  potential bursars must be studying towards a qualification in the fields of medicine, technology, visual arts or music.

At UFH, the recipients are Nursing Science , Bachelor of Arts and Music students who are nominated and selected based on academic performance. Nominations for 2020 have already been made and the awarding process should be complete by the end of March.

According to Prof Munacinga Simatele (Nedbank Chair in Economics), the university first applied for funding in 2016 for 2017, following an invitation from the Trust. “Unfortunately our first application was unsuccessful. However, our applications for the following years were successful”, she explained.

Over the past two years, the bursary has provided funding to 25 UFH students. The value of the bursary has also increased significantly.  “In 2018  the UFH received R1.1 million and was able to support 10 students. In 2019 the funding increased to R1.6 million and the number of bursars increased to 15. It is anticipated that  more students will receive support in 2020”, said Prof Simatele.

In fact, the number of beneficiaries could rise to rise to 20  this year, according to Ms Sihle Zulani (Management and Commerce Projects and Research Administrator).

The bursary covers full study costs. This includes prescribed textbooks, residential and food expenses and any other study costs and material required by the university.   The fund caters for both under-and postgraduate students.

In addition to being financially needy and producing exceptional academic results, recipients are also required to be involved in a community engagement project that is aligned to their field of study.