Around the world, university fees, and students’ inability to afford them, are trending topics. Crowdsourcing may be one way to solve the problem for some determined students.
Website http://crowdsourcingweek.com explains the phenomenon: “Crowdsourcing is the practice of engaging a ‘crowd’ or group for a common goal – often innovation, problem solving, or efficiency… the internet and social media have brought organisations closer to their stakeholders, laying the groundwork for new ways of collaborating and creating value together.”
Bursary Network was created during the student protests in late 2015 in South Africa by scientist and entrepreneur, Emmanuel Luthuli. On the website https://www.bursarynetwork.com/, Luthuli explains: “Bursary Network is a community of graduates, corporates and philanthropists with a vision of enabling students with financial challenges to access tertiary education.
“The Bursary Network platform has a mandate of vetting students and presenting profiles of those that are in need of a tertiary bursary to a network of donors.”
Only a small portion of those in need of financial assistance may get lucky with Bursary Network. While hundreds have applied online, only 10 hopefuls are profiled on the site at any one time. Donors who view the site are free to contribute as much or as little as they like. The monies go into a trust fund and are then released to the educational institution once the target has been met (it must be reached within 60 days). Luthuli works closely with philanthropists and web developers to create as wide a network as possible. He also rigorously scrutinises students hoping for loans.
So far a Bursary Network claims to have 288 registered donors, which have funded the tuition of nine students by raising R340 207.
Category: Autumn 2016