Crowdfunding platforms step in to alleviate student debt

While student debt in South Africa remains stubbornly high with no solution to the crisis in sight, thousands of higher education students are looking to digital crowdfunding platforms to raise funds to help alleviate their debt, writes Michelle Banda and Alinaswe Lusengo for Daily Maverick.

WeSolve4X student debt stokvel (informal savings club) is one of many organisations helping students solve the problem of debt through crowdfunding. The stokvel operates by asking South Africans to donate ZAR100 (US$5) (or more) monthly to alleviate student debt. In 2022, the initiative raised ZAR1.5 million to help clear the debt of 22 students. That was ZAR200,000 more than was raised in 2021, according to WeSolve4X founder Tsietsi Ngobese. The programme is still running this year and has received more than 10,000 applications from students who need assistance with clearing their debt.

Since its establishment in 2017, Feenix, another crowdfunding platform for students, has paid out ZAR144 million to settle the debts of more than 3,000 students. “What we have experienced since launching in 2017 is that with the issue of funding tertiary education and dealing with the mounting student debts, there is no one-size-fits-all solution,” Feenix CEO Cara-Jean Petersen told Newzroom Afrika in an interview.
Full report on the Daily Maverick site