Sizwe Nxasana has 60 professionals working with him on a project to design and build a new student funding scheme to address the needs of poor and "missing-middle" students – and the project is getting the professional services at no cost. Webber Wentzel has a team of lawyers doing pro bono work on the project, Discovery has seconded a team of young actuaries, the Banking Association of SA and the big banks have volunteered people, as has the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, while the Association for Savings and Investments SA and its members are doing the actuarial modelling. "Everybody carries their own costs," says Nxasana, who is the project leader for the new Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme and also chairs the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). A proper project office will be established soon, with a modest full-time staff. Meanwhile, the team effort is a measure of the kind of resources the private sector is investing in this public-private...

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