Students turn to crowdfunding to raise university fees

Times Live has reported a 78.2% matric pass rate for Class of 2018 and 156,885 distinctions across the country. Students are taking to crowdfunding to finance the next step of the academic journey. It seems that desperate times calls for desperate measures.

Since December 2018, Donations based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy, has welcomed over 50 new crowdfunding campaigns for students. Most of them are looking to raise funds for university deposits, text books and tuition. Let’s meet some of them.


Frances Whitehead (20)

This international student set up a campaign to raise R 128,000 towards her final year at University of Cape Town when her parents fell under financial strain.

Frances Whitehead


In a couple days, Frances exceeded her target, raising R132,873.66 with contributions from 26 donors to continue her studies. You can check out her campaign HERE.

Randy Seda (21)

This student has dreams to become a chartered accountant and he’s currently studying at the University of Pretoria. Unable to support his studies after his mother suffered an unfortunate stroke, Randy set up a campaign on BackaBuddy to raise R137, 000 (the sum of his current year’s fees).

Students turn to crowdfunding to raise university fees 1

So far, Randy has raised R12,912.62 which will be paid directly to the University by BackaBuddy. If you want to support his campaign, CLICK HERE.

Rene Morcom (33)

She’s the first ever student to address e-health in the history of UNISA. She has worked hard, from being unable to continue school in grade 8, to being accepted into university.

Randy Morcom

To follow her dreams of becoming a social worker, Rene set up a campaign on BackaBuddy to cover the R13,000 deposit for her final year. She’s doing her honors in Social Work and Telemental Health Certification.

“I started a home called Thandi House in Pietermaritzburg for abandoned and abused children and I wanted a qualification that would help make the world a better place. I am not just a student trying to pass because I have to, I am a student who loves what she is studying and I know that my studies can touch and change lives.” says Morcom

Feel like helping Rene out? CLICK HERE to make a donation towards her Backabuddy campaign.

Maya Rose Godden (20)

She’s a student at the University of Cape Town. Maya was awarded a Golden Key Honours Society membership. She was also placed on the Deans Merit List for both her previous years of study at the University of Cape Town.

Maya Rose Godden

To continue her BA in Film & Media Production, Maya set up a campaign on BackaBuddy. She was unable to cover her tuition.

“I am currently trying everything to ensure that I can continue my studies this year, including looking and applying for bursaries, loans and part time work. However, I will be unable to pay the registration fee of R25,500 by February and it is looking increasingly unlikely that I’ll be able to afford the rest of my fees for this year (R34,500).” says Godden

Maya has Thus far R10,913.06 towards her R30,000 fundraising target on BackaBuddy. CLICK HERE if you want to support her campaign.

Brighton Manaba (22)

Brighton has worked hard towards achieving a strong academic record. He’s always dreamed about studying Mechanical Engineering. Despite his difficult circumstances, he achieved excellent grades at the University of Johannesburg.

Brighton Manaba

“Before now I had the help of my parents working. But with my father, who is in his late 60s resigning from his security job due to old age, I am unable to cover my tuition on my own” says Manaba

Brighton’s mom created a campaign on BackaBuddy on her son’s behalf. She aims to raise R 16,400. towards his fees. The campaign has already raised R2,998.30. When she reaches her target, the funds will be transferred to the university.

CLICK HERE if you want to make a donation towards Brighton’s BackaBuddy campaign.

Most students opt to have their funds managed directly by BackaBuddy

“Crowdfunding is always an attractive alternative for students hoping to study without incurring debt, but one of the biggest concerns in the donor community, is always the question of where generated funds will be used.

For this reason we offer the option to manage funds for our campaign creators and pay universities and other relevant intuitions directly to ensure donor peace of mind when supporting students. BackaBuddy assisted campaigns also tend to raise more funds”  says BackaBuddy COO, Catherine Du Plooy

Campaigns created by a close friend or family member tend to perform better says Du Plooy

Luntu Masiza (27) from Khayelitsha created a campaign to raise funds for his friend, Miselwa Ngamlana’s (21) studies in 2017. He did the when she was suspended from AFDA for outstanding fees. This was 4 months before she was going to finishing her degree.

Miselwa Ngamlana

Luntu discovered BackaBuddy when he was looking for fundraising to complete his own studies in 2016 and thought crowdfunding might be a good option to get Miselwa back to school.

R17,317.50 was raised on BackaBuddy towards the outstanding school fees and Miselwa was able to return to class. This was thanks to donations from his lecturers, classmates and friends.

“What made Miselwa’s campaign so powerful, is how Luntu took things into his own hands and stood up for his friend in her time of need.

Campaigns usually raise more funds if driven by close family member or friend who is passionate about the beneficiary and what they are trying to achieve.” says Du Plooy

Raise funds for your university fees by signing up on BackaBuddy

More than R35 million was raised on BackaBuddy in 2018. 2018 also saw the launch of more than 1800 new crowdfunding campaigns.

Want to raise some funds? Tell your story! Put together an inspiring video for your campaign, set your fundraising target and reach out to your networks for support. CLICK HERE to sign up on BackaBuddy today!

Alternatively, read our article featuring successful crowdfunding campaigns in South Africa.

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