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SMS drive to help wipe out student debt

South Africans have been urged to make donations via SMS to the #FeesMustFall campaign.

South Africans have been urged to make donations via SMS to the #FeesMustFall campaign.

A national SMS fundraising drive to bail out thousands of middle-class university students will kick off this week, the Sunday Times reports.

According to the Sunday Times, SMS drive aims to raise money to wipe the debt of students who do not qualify for state funding and whose families earn between R122 000 and R300 000.

Hloni Theko, MD of Pretune Technologies told to the newspaper that his company, together with Cell C, has developed an SMS donation line expected to be launched by Thursday.

The national SMS drive would enable millions of cellphone users to donate to a university of their choice by sending an SMS with a special code.

Depending on a user's cellphone service provider, amounts ranging from R5.56 to R12 per R20 SMS would be paid over to the respective universities, reports the Sunday Times.

Theko said the initiative was meant to assist the so-called "missing middle" students who owed fees – those too well off to qualify for state grants, but too poor to pay for their studies from their own pocket.

Fasiha Hassan, secretary-general of the Wits University student representative council, said they are calling on all South Africans, including government, the corporate sector and private individuals, to assist with as little as R100.

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