Research conducted by the University of Johannesburg indicates that up to 40% of their students struggle to fund their transportation, food and accommodation requirements. Furthermore, universities across the country have seen a steady decline in the amount of NSFAS funding available per student, with the result that students have to find alternative sources of funding for their subsistence needs. This problem is particularly acute in institutions such as Fort Hare where more than 80% of students are reliant on NSFAS. The majority of Vice Chancellors have listed the need to address hunger on campus as a priority.
Who we are.
Get Me To Graduation (GMTG) is a non-profit organization that commenced operation in 2016. It was founded by Class IX Tariro Fellow Basani Maluleke. The organization has a mandate to help students to fund their subsistence needs. Students who are continuously hungry are unable to participate meaningfully in academic and university life, which exacerbates the already high drop-out and failure rate.
Accordingly, the funding that is made available to these students for university fees, is effectively wasted expenditure because it is just enough to allow them access to university, but not enough to enable them to perform academically.
In 2016, GMTG ran a pilot at the University of Johannesburg and North-West University, with 183 students. The pilot was funded by Nedbank Eyethu Community Trust. GMTG distributed R1,2 million to 183 students using Fundi’s distribution platform. Participating students received R1, 000 per month which was a loaded onto a card issued by Fundi. The students could then spend the money with on- campus vendors as well as at Shoprite, Checkers and Pick ‘n Pay stores. The cards do not allow the students to buy ‘sin goods’ such as alcohol or cigarettes.
Some findings from the pilot are as follows:
- We helped students to focus on academics rather than where their next meal was coming from.
- We freed up some disposable income, which could then be used for transport or for groceries to send back to the student’s homes (students’ ability to focus on academics / university life is adversely impacted by financial strain faced by their families at home).
- We have seen an improvement in academic performance accelerated integration into university life.
- We have the ability to assist other students who needed but could not afford food.
Preliminary academic results of students who participated in the pilot are as follows:
The organization has received the results of 74 students at the University of Johannesburg. Below are our findings:
- More than 60% students received 1 or more distinctions.
- 90% of students passed and were promoted to their next year of study.
- 70% students will graduate.
GMTG leverages the funding already available to students for university fees, to give those students a better chance to reach graduation.
The organisation has milestones of scaling the programme from 180 to 5 000 students by 2020. Get Me To Graduation will continue to raise more funds from the corporate sector. With more funding and commitment we can truly change the lives of students, and help them graduate. Should you wish to become a funder or want to learn more about the programme, please contact Basani Maluleke at Basani@gmtg.co.za.