Standard Bank funds higher education, developing the skills needed for the future world of work. This includes facilitating access to finance such as the crowdfunding Feenix platform, and more direct funding such as our Standard Bank bursaries and scholarships.
Student access to funding.
Feenix crowdfunding platform enables individuals and companies to donate money directly to universities on behalf of selected students.
Standard Bank covered set-up and operating cost shortfalls.
We launched the Feenix Trust, a public benefit organisation (PBO), in June 2017. It is an initiative that allows individuals and enterprises to donate money directly to students to help them complete their studies. Crowdfunding platforms like Feenix allow ordinary citizens to take meaningful action to solve social problems. At least 75% of the Trust is allocated to black recipients, and 50% to women. Standard Bank is the funder, enabler and partner of the Trust, which retains and manages funds from donors. The Trust allows individuals and enterprises to donate money to universities on behalf of selected students.
We covered the set-up costs and will cover any shortfall between the total operating costs and the income received from the admin fee charged to funders.
We have a three year commitment to the project, which we expect to become self-sustaining.
Feenix has raised R22 million and funded 800 tertiary students, since inception. 650 students were funded in 2018. Standard Bank employees have contributed R850 000 of this amount. The Feenix Trust owns the Feenix.org domain, ensuring professional and accountable handling of all funds raised and disbursed. Feenix won the Public Intellectual Influencer Brand Award at the 2018 Brand Summit South Africa and was recognised by Next Generation in their 2018 Innovation and Impact Research Report as a leader of the pack.
In South Africa, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme provides assistance to underprivileged students, whose parents’ annual income is less than R100 000. However, students who fall outside this threshold struggle to access conventional bank loans, because they cannot provide surety against the loan. Using a capital base of R20 million from the Discovery Foundation as surety, we have disbursed student loans worth R15.7 million at the University of Pretoria’s medical school since 2016, benefiting 148 ‘missing middle’ medical students. Of the 148 students, 37 have now completed their medical degrees. We believe this solution has the potential to substantially increase the number of students that could qualify for an affordable loan, on a sustainable basis.
Our bursary programmes upport deserving students to obtain degrees in critical skills areas. We also partner with government institutions in some countries. In 2018, we funded 389 students.
We provided 296 bursaries for students at South African universities, to the value of R35.7 million. 130 of these bursaries were directly awarded and managed by Standard Bank and 166 were funded through the Ikusasa Financial Aid Programme (ISFAP). ISFAP is a public-private partnership between government and corporates, aimed specifically at addressing the funding gap for the so-called ‘missing middle’. In 2017, Standard Bank funded full cost bursaries for 172 students. We continued to fund these students in 2018, less the six that exited the programme.
In 2018, 12 of our bursary recipients who graduated in 2017 were employed by Standard Bank. They include:
Standard Bank and the University of Johannesburg have partnered to support 10 exceptional students through their undergraduate and post-graduate studies, through the Actuationist programme. Two of these students started their careers in Standard Bank in 2019.
We also run specific bursary programmes in key countries in Africa Regions. For example: Standard Bank Malawi has launched a MK120 million (R2.4 million) bursary programme, to run for four years. Bursaries have been provided to six students from each of the five public universities in Malawi, totalling 30 students.
The Standard Bank Chairman’s Scholarship (previously known as the Derek Cooper Scholarship) welcomed its fourth intake of 10 students in October 2018. Our 2018 investment of R7.8 million brings the total number of beneficiaries to 33, across eight African countries (South Africa, Ghana, Zambia, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Zimbabwe). The scholarship is awarded to a small number of exceptional African graduates, who we believe have the potential to become influential leaders in business, politics and/or civil society, to pursue post-graduate studies at top international universities. Our alumni include: