Medical Student Loan Guarantee Fund
The Discovery Foundation is an independent trust that was set up in 2006 as one element of Discovery Limited’s Black Economic Empowerment transaction. The Foundation has invested over R160 million in education and training grants geared towards supporting the education and training of medical specialists in South Africa, as well as academia and research.
Extending Discovery’s core purpose of making people healthier, the Discovery Foundation has been committed to contributing to the future health and wellbeing of all South Africans.
The Foundation does this by supporting the ongoing excellence of South African healthcare through these education and training grants. This research and training will help to advance healthcare in South Africa, where a critical shortage of resources for healthcare is experienced.
The Medical Student Loan Guarantee Fund will serve as surety for study loans for medical students, initially at the University of Pretoria. Surety is a way of making student loans accessible to those who otherwise would not be able to secure them.
This will help bolster the pipeline of potential recipients of Discovery Foundation Awards for further specialist training and research.
The Discovery Foundation cares about the future development of doctors in South Africa. As such, the Foundation wants to make it possible for medical students who meet certain criteria to secure study loans during the second to sixth year (graduation) of their course.
In line with the aim of the Discovery Foundation to support the education and training of specialists in South Africa, particularly in historically disadvantaged and rural areas, roughly 75% of the guarantees provided by the Fund should be for the benefit of needy black* students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
To further contribute towards the successful completion of their studies, successful applicants will also receive the following support:
- Academic support in the form of access to tutors employed through Discovery Foundation funding
- Psychosocial support through access to psychologists, coaches or other mentors supported by the Discovery Foundation
- Partnerships with external providers
- Additional financial support in the event of crisis situations
The Discovery Foundation’s role will be to provide the capital to stand surety and assist with the administration of the Discovery Foundation Medical Student Loan Guarantee Fund.
Standard Bank of South Africa has acknowledged the need to reassess the traditional approach to student loans, mainly with regard to surety requirements. This has become necessary as a way of providing more access to student funding. To fulfil their purpose of “Africa is our home, we drive her growth” and to build a leading African financial services organisation, Standard Bank wants to contribute to the long-term viability and success of the communities and countries they operate in by facilitating economic growth and social development. The Fund will enable Standard Bank to provide a greater number of loans to students.
University of Pretoria
The University of Pretoria will manage the loan administration process and selection of candidates.
Who is eligible?
Medical students who meet the BEE criteria of the Foundation and are South African citizens are eligible to apply. (A detailed definition is given under “Important to note” in the application form.)
Principles for the awarding of guarantees
- All applications will be subject to agreed criteria.
- The Medical Student Loan Guarantee Fund is only for students studying towards a medical degree. Therefore, if a student who has received a guarantee through the Fund decides to change to a course that is not a medical course, the guarantee will be withdrawn.
- Applicants must provide a half-page motivation, and include any additional information or unique or special circumstances that could be of importance for this loan application.
- Applications for living expenses only will not be considered.
- Applicants who are shortlisted will be required to attend an information session where the terms and conditions of the loan will be explained before final confirmation is given.
Obligations of beneficiaries
- Beneficiaries will not be required to start repaying any amounts on their loans while they are studying towards their medical degree. Interest and fees will accrue to the loan.
- The obligation to repay the loan will start when the beneficiary has graduated. Repayment terms will be based on an agreement signed upfront between the beneficiary and Standard Bank. Repayment terms in accordance with future income and expenses will be available.
- Beneficiaries must participate in the support programme, and academic progress will be monitored.