But now the bank offers student loans to the “missing middle”, where an individual surety is not available.
Demonstrations since late 2015 under the #FeesMustFall campaign disrupted teaching at many universities and forced (then) president Jacob Zuma to rule out fee increases in 2016 and a commitment to free tertiary education as soon as possible.
“The government is aware of these challenges and takes them very seriously. Indeed, the government remains firmly committed to progressively realise free post-school education for the poor and working class, as called for by our Constitution, and to assist middle-class families who are unable to pay. This is demonstrated by the creation of the presidential commission of inquiry into higher education and training funding, which includes universities, technical and vocational education and training colleges, as well as the substantial increases in funding to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme since 2010,” then minister of higher education and training, Blade Nzimande, said in 2016.
Higher education institutions saw their contact enrolments rise from 545759 in 2010 to 596824 in 2014 according to the Department of Higher Education and Training.