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Caught in the Middle

The ‘missing middle’ is a term coined to define university students who do not qualify for state financial aid and whose families cannot afford to pay for their studies. Although the South African government announced fee-free undergraduate education in 2018, students from households whose income exceeds the state financial aid eligibility criteria can still not afford a university education. National tracking of undergraduates has shown that 30% of all students without financial support are at risk of dropping out before the end of their first year, while another estimated 20% will leave university before completing their degrees. With the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we expect an even larger proportion of our student population to move into this category of the ‘missing middle. This group – with family incomes of between R350 000 and R600 000 a year – comprises some of our most talented and academically gifted students. Estimated at around 8% of our 20 274 Matie undergraduates at the start of 2020, and currently rising sharply in number as the economic impact of COVID-19 is felt, these students are highly vulnerable to dropping out if they cannot access funding.

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Die “ontbrekende middel” is ’n term wat geskep is om na universiteitstudente te verwys wat nie vir finansiële hulp deur die staat kwalifiseer nie en wie se gesinne dit nie kan bekostig om vir hul studie te betaal nie. Alhoewel die Suid-Afrikaanse regering in 2018 gratis voorgraadse studie aangekondig het, kan studente uit huishoudings met ’n inkomste wat die kriteria vir finansiële hulp van die staat oorskry, steeds nie ’n universiteitsopvoeding bekostig nie. Met die nasionale nasporing van voorgraadse studente is daar gevind dat 30% van alle studente sonder finansiële steun die gevaar loop om voor die einde van hul eerste jaar uit te val, terwyl nog 20% van die studente waarskynlik die universiteit sal verlaat voordat hulle hul studie voltooi het. Vanweë die ekonomiese gevolge van die COVID-19-pandemie verwag ons dat ’n selfs groter deel van ons studentepopulasie in hierdie “ontbrekende middel”‑kategorie sal inbeweeg. Hierdie groep – met ’n gesinsinkomste van tussen R350 000 en R600 000 per jaar – behels van ons mees talentvolle en akademies begaafde studente. Geskat op ongeveer 8% van ons 20 274 voorgraadse Matie-studente aan die begin van 2020, met ’n skerp toename namate die ekonomiese impak van COVID-19 gevoel word, is hierdie studente veral kwesbaar vir uitval indien hulle nie toegang tot befondsing kry nie.

education

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  1. Graeme Byrne

    7 October 2021

    R1,000.00
1 Donation