Standard bank has created a crowdfunding initiative aimed enhancing access to higher education for students. Jayshree Naidoo, Interim CEO of Feenix Trust, said access to tertiary education remains a major challenge for many people with ability, but who lack funds.
“As a proudly digital bank with a history of making a difference, we want to ensure our expertise is also harnessed here. The power of crowdsourcing as a viable solution to boosting educational funding channels is taking off worldwide and we are excited to now be able to take part in this exciting journey in SA.”
Speaking at the Feenix.org launch held in Rosebank, Johannesburg, Naidoo said the narrative of how people deal with the issue of fees in South Africa has to change which is why the Feenix funding was implemented.
“This is an innovative solution which will allow individuals and big corporate to donate money to universities on behalf of selected students to help them complete their studies.”
International students will also benefit on the Feenix.org funding, however funders have to be strictly South African. Naidoo said that will change as time progresses but now it will remain like that.
“Standard Bank has committed to the project for 36 months, or until the project is self-sustaining.”
Feenix is intended to support the poor and “missing middle” students, those who should be assisted by government and other interventions, but who have fallen through the cracks in those systems.
“The bank is committed to supporting Feenix until it is able to sustain itself. The projections drawn up by the team are that the operating costs of Feenix will be covered by the admin fees charged in about three years, we see this as a long term commitment, one which we are proud to be associated with,” said Naidoo.
All degree types for accredited courses at any of the 26 public universities across South Africa will be accepted at the moment, with plans to extend the service in the near future to students studying at other tertiary and higher learning institutions.
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Feenix.org’s signup process allows students to register their financial needs for the current year.
“On July 17, campus activations will be created to assist students with setting up their profiles.”
“Feenix’s powerful database tracks all user behaviour and enables all financial activity through the site. The log of payments received and disbursed is stored securely, and allows for a full financial audit to be performed at any time or if any irregularity is suspected.”
Naidoo said steps have been taken to ensure that all users of the system students and funders are checked and verified against relevant databases made available to Feenix by Standard Bank’s fraud protection and sanctions departments.
“No cause could be more important right now. As a bank that cares about our youth and improving access to education, we support solutions that innovate and take South Africa forward” said Naidoo.
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