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Alumni

 

UP thanks its donors for making scholarships possible 

 

Corporate and private donors play an enormous role in providing scholarships at the University of Pretoria. As a token of its appreciation and to give donors and bursary holders an opportunity to meet each other, the Department for Institutional Advancement at UP hosted a function for donors at the Edoardo Villa Museum on 18 September 2009.

 

Speaking at the event, Prof Chris de Beer, Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, said, “The University of Pretoria deeply appreciates the generous donation of bursaries received from corporations, government, alumni and friends of the University. We acknowledge the enormous role that they all play in helping to provide essential skills for the future growth and prosperity of our communities and country.”

 

Prof De Beer went on to say that a scholarship to a student reaches far beyond the individual that is supported. Statistics show that by supporting a single student to become a university graduate, donors have a direct and measurable impact on the gross domestic product of a country. The University supports a large number of students in fulfilling their dreams of obtaining degrees. In 2008, financial aid covered 47.35% of the total tuition and accommodation fees. This is represented by an amount of R404 million that was provided in the form of 47 268 bursary and loan awards.
 
Some 7 507 bursary awards were made from external sources, while another 23 284 bursary awards were made from UP’s own funds. Bursaries are awarded in all fields of study at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, although the University is strongly focused on promoting research-driven postgraduate studies. Postgraduate scholarships and loans for 2008 amounted to R124 million.

 

The expenses covered are the donor’s prerogative, and typical expenses include tuition fees, accommodation and meal levies, books and subsistence allowances. However, certain sponsors provide the University with funds to be utilised at its own discretion. External financial aid providers are increasingly choosing to support students in this way to ensure that the funding is utilised in an appropriate manner.

 

The impact donors make on students’ lives was expressed by Keshia Dharmaratne, a third-year LLB student at the University and immigrant from Sri Lanka who attended the function. She thanked the donors on behalf of the 86 students who attended the function: “Thank you to all the sponsors on behalf of the students for the incredible work you do, and for changing our lives and shaping our futures. It is inevitable that your support will form powerful identities in this country, where students go on to hold positions of great responsibility, and it has significant meaning in their lives and the lives of the people they serve. I will use the opportunity I received through this scholarship to pay forward, contributing to the Alumni Bursary Fund when I have a job one day.”

 

    
Keshia Dharmaratne thanks donors.        Scholarship-holders talk to Theunis Duvenage (left) 
                                                  of SS Profiling Ltd.