About Bridge the Gap
Stellenbosch University’s annual fund, Bridge the Gap enables our student community, staff, alumni, parents, and friends to support our students with the things that are making their lives undeniably difficult. Our aim is to close the gap between talent and financial need, something we all care about. You can make an immediate, tangible difference in the lives of Stellenbosch University students by giving to the Annual Fund, Bridge the Gap.
Gifts to the Annual Fund fuel residential university life, our student wellness resources, outreach programs for student success, and helping SU to strike a better balance between academic excellence, a cohesive support system and a vibrant Stellenbosch University community.
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Why you should give
- You can request a tax deduction certificate in South Africa for all donations over R500; over €100 in most European countries in the Trans European Giving Network; of many amount to our UK Trust and we encourage GiftAid donations too!
- You are helping to remove the obvious, subtle, inevitable, and very real financial barriers for current students now, including those from middle-income families.
- You can support a talented and economically diverse student body that results in a more dynamic community for us all.
- You can have a direct and immediate impact on a cause that touches your heart.
- Ensure that our Maties have every opportunity to pursue fulfilling lives and careers without the burden of significant debt
QUICK LINKS TO DONATE:
At Stellenbosch University we believe that no student should be burdened with the stress of food insecurity. Our student-led #Move4Food campaign is a way of providing immediate relief to curb student hunger on our campuses. Food insecurity may have resulted from any number of crises, mishaps, or funding gaps. Our social workers can access the #Move4Food emergency fund to provide food-insecure students with immediate help. In 2020, we distributed R494 450 of #Move4Food allowances among 656 students, to ensure they have access to food. This includes a total of 570 undergraduate students and 86 postgraduate students.
The #Action4Inclusion initiative, launched in 2020, was conceptualised by SU’s Student Representative Council, Prof Thuli Madonsela, SU’s Law Trust Chair in Social Justice, Prof Sonia Human, former Dean of SU’s Faculty of Law, and Social Justice Ambassadors. The funds raised via #Action4Inclusion are used to support students who cannot register for the next academic year owing to outstanding fees, as well as graduates who cannot access their academic records upon graduation, thereby hampering their capacity to contribute to a talented workforce. Not all students requiring financial assistance receive sufficient funding for their studies and they often experience a shortfall, resulting in the accumulation of debt. Their plight is of great concern and the reason for the #Action4Inclusion initiative. If you, like us, firmly believe that no deserving student should be denied access to higher education based on their financial struggles, please contribute to #Action4Inclusion
Tygerberg Pantry Project
Students in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Tygerberg Student Council Office established the Tygerberg Pantry Project (TPP) in 2015, following awareness of overwhelming food and toiletry insecurity among students on our Tygerberg Campus. Students contribute non-perishable food items and toiletries to communal pantries in residences, where students in need can then have access to these basic necessities. There are also drop boxes on campus where items can be donated. This initiative functions exclusively on donations.
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
Our records show that 187 Zimbabwean final year students (postgraduate and undergraduate) have varying amounts of student debt and 112 of those students have no other sources of funding to cover the debt on their accounts by the time they graduate. The accumulated debt of these 112 students stands at just over R3 million (US$210 450; £151 205). The Zim4Zim initiative aims to ensure that students – all of whom met the academic requirements for entry into their chosen courses – are given financial support to help clear the last bit of study debt by the time they graduate. This will ensure that they receive their degree certificates at graduation and can begin to find employment. By offering this support to these talented students, you will contribute to knowledge production on our continent, thereby retaining the University’s commitment to inclusive excellence.
End Period Poverty
Period poverty is a prevalent issue in South Africa, where a large number of women simply cannot afford sanitary hygiene products. Although the South African government, on the evidence presented by several civil and community organisations, including the Stellenbosch University Law Clinic, moved to make sanitary hygiene products more accessible by removing the 15% value added tax on such products in 2019, there are still many students who simply cannot afford them. Join us in taking action against this very real issue.
Even if students have received bursaries during their studies, these often do not cover their full costs, leaving many students with unpaid fees at graduation. Graduating students receive a letter confirming their compliance with all the requirements for their tertiary qualifications. However, those with outstanding fees will only be issued with a degree certificate or an academic transcript once they have settled their debt. For those who have not yet secured employment, this places them on the back foot as they enter the search for employment. Our records show that graduates affected by student debt have increased over the past three years. On average, students carrying debt upon graduation owe more than R30 000 each. Their lingering debt hampers their capacity to contribute to a talented workforce. Your support can help them enter the South African economy with confidence.
Our Student Representative Council has been working with several firms to provide part-funded driver training for students who require a driving licence in order to get a job. Social workers, engineers and other professions require driver’s licences to apply for positions when they graduate. This costs R2 500 per student, which funds the learner’s licence test fee, 10 driving lessons per student and the booking fee for the licence test. Let us put our students on the road to success.
Our Peer-to-Peer fundraising team is here to assist you to become a fundraiser too. Peer-to-peer fundraising is a fundraising strategy that empowers you to raise money on behalf of a cause via online fundraising pages. This method leverages existing social networks to maximize the impact of our Bridge the Gap Annual fundraising campaign. We are here to help you turn your marathon, race, climb, video challenge, big birthday, walkathon, 10 000 daily step challenge, spinathon, danceathon, or Guinness Book Record attempt into a money-spinner.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get going on your fundraising
mission as soon as possible.