1995 was a watershed year for Studietrust when we received our first grant from the DG Murray Trust. Over the years steadfast support from the Trust allowed us to develop and sustain our access bursary programme. A partial bursary is allocated to applicants who in spite of the most difficult personal and educational circumstances managed to qualify in terms of our selection criteria. Our access bursaries universally have the most profound motivating effect on the recipient (“you have recognised my potential… you believed in me…”). The allocation letter, on the basis of our long working relationship with the financial aid offices of educational institutions, opens all doors to registration without any further payments being required. A part of the bursary is immediately available for buying textbooks, securing proper accommodation and for subsistence.
These bursary opportunities have a preference for rural applicants (60%). All the successful applicants qualify for NSFAS loans and if they do not succeed in obtaining a loan through their institutions, Studietrust would administer the loan.
In 2011 Studietrust received R2.1 million from the Trust and this enabled us to allocate bursaries to 136 students at FETCs, Universities of Technology and Universities.
The partnership with the DG Murray Trust is ongoing and we are benefitting from the fresh approach to grantmaking introduced by the new CEO, David Harrison and his team. Bursary support is part of the “Connection to Opportunity” portfolio. The work under this Portfolio addresses the problem that over 40% of 18-24 year olds in South Africa are not in formal education and not employed—a severe loss of potential. Studietrust with its vision of not allowing a drop of potential in our country to be wasted slots into this portfolio very well. We also work with the high school and post-school programmes funded through the Portfolio, e. g. Sumbandila Outliers, Penreach and Go for Gold.
Studietrust bursars who are successful in their studies assist the DG Murray Trust by promoting community demand for education by giving hope to others with potential but without opportunity by expanding post-school connections to educational and economic opportunity.
In order to facilitate bridging the “second gap”, that between university and the world of work, and also connect our students to and prepare them for economic opportunity, Studietrust has adopted the strategic objective of developing an “exit strategy”. We are in the process of establishing a partnership with the “Coaches that Care” programme of the Fresh Foundation in this regard.