Unlike at other universities, instead of paying a registration fee of between R3,000 and R4,000, the CIDA students pay R400 at the beginning of the year and the R164 every month.
Tertiary education is becoming more and more expensive.
This means that the majority of South African parents cannot afford to send their children to institutions of higher learning.
But since 2000, CIDA City College in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg, has been offering free education to disadvantaged students around the country. The college is the only virtually free higher education institute in the country.
“In addition to that we get sponsors for each student. It costs at least R40,000 to cater for each student for a year.
“The money includes accommodation and tuition and fees.”
This year, the college has 662 students.
The students study towards a Bachelor of Business Administration, and there are also two schools of excellence specialising in investments and information communication technology.
“Only 250 of them have sponsors. As a result of the recession, money has become scarce.
“The recession was bad for us and we hope that this will be over.”
The college funds students through donations from companies but they have also established a BEE wing – the CIDA Empowerment Fund – that partners with other companies to raise funds.
Lekaota said: “We have shares in companies like Mr Price and and Cambridge University. When we get dividends, we use them to fund the students.
“Even though our students attend practically for free, it does not mean that our education is inferior.
“We have an 89percent employment rate among our graduates. Our classes are also practical-oriented.”
In the Traders Trophy Worldwide tournament last year, out of five competing universities – including University of Johannesburg and Cape Town, CIDA School of Investment students won four of the 10 places.
One of the students, Patricia Montshioa, finished second and is now representing the college in Amsterdam.
Article by Sowetan LIVE