In an effort to create a platform for donors to sponsor student fees‚ Standard Bank and Feenix Trust launched a crowdfunding initiative in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The trust has been established to retain and manage funds from donors.

Jayshree Naidoo‚ interim CEO of Feenix‚ said only 17% of students in SA who qualify for education funding will actually get it. The trust is intended to address this.

"The fees will be paid directly to the university through the trust. Students won’t be required to pay back the money," she said. "All degree types for accredited courses at any of the 26 public universities across SA will be accepted. "The donations will cover accommodation‚ tuition and textbooks."

Johan De Ru‚ manager for business development, education at Standard Bank, said: "Students can create profiles on the Feenix website and upload their fees statement and bio. The trust will then verify them and, once they are live on the site‚ donors can choose to donate to them."

Anyone can donate, with a minimum donation being R100. Donors are required to upload their information and will go through verification‚ according to the standards of the bank.

De Ru said 120 students were already live on the platform, and 604 had registered and were awaiting approval. "Long-distance, and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions will be included later."

"Students will be required to upload their fees statement every year, and the trust does not have any academic requirements. There is no limit to who can apply‚" De Ru said.

In 2015‚ students across SA embarked on a nationwide protest to call for tuition fees to be scrapped. Said De Ru: "The fees protest was one of the elements that indicated this project is needed to solve some of the problems in the country."

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