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Financial Sector Conduct Authority visits Maties to equip students with critical financial skills
Author: Lynne Rippenaar-Moses
Published: 17/04/2024

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) recently visited Stellenbosch University (SU) to present an interactive workshop on financial literacy to Maties as part of the FSCA's Consumer Education Department's objective to empower students by bolstering their financial literacy. The Financial Literacy for Tertiary Students workshops, of which there were two, were co-hosted by the Centre for Student Counselling and Development (CSCD) within the Division Student Affairs (DSAf).

Both workshops were presented in hybrid form to all undergraduate and postgraduate students at all SU's campuses and drew more than 600 students in-person and online.

According to the FSCA, “tertiary students encounter a multitude of financial decisions that can significantly impact their futures". Students often become entrapped in debt while studying - be it by accumulating credit card or store card debt - and make uninformed financial decisions as they do not have access to proper financial guidance or knowledge. 

“This has negative consequences that will impact their future and access to credit for an important investment like a house, especially where graduates have to work with money," said Mr Ephraim Kgosana, the project leader of Consumer Education Relations at the FSCA.

“There is a persistent need," added Kgosana, “to conduct interactive seminars and workshops at tertiary institutions to equip students with practical skills and knowledge that will help them navigate the financial landscape competently."

The workshops focused on matters specifically related to students such as budgeting, saving, managing debt, investing, and planning financially for the future. Students were able to ask specific questions related to issues that they were struggling with or had encountered when dealing with their personal finances. 

“It is important for students to gain financial literacy at this stage as they are already managing funding they receive through bursaries, or via NSFAS, and must know how to balance everyday expenses which before would have been handled by a parent or guardian throughout their years of study," said Kgosana.

Lyndwill Clarke, the Head of Department: Consumer Education at the FSCA, Lyndon Johnson from the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, specifically the office of Consumer Protection, and Selina Maketa from the Credit Bureau Association also addressed students. 

Since its first workshop, the FSCA initiative has taken a collaborative approach with key stakeholders invited to participate at institutions. These partners include the National Credit Regulator (NCR), Credit Bureau Association (CBA), and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA). This has ensured that students gain access to organisations focused on wide-ranging financial matters, and get up-to-date information too. During the workshops at SU, students were able to obtain their recent credit record for free and receive advice on improving it from representatives of the credit bureau Experian.

Kgosana said that the Financial Literacy for Tertiary Students initiative will continue to evolve according to students changing needs, with topics such as wealth creation, entrepreneurship and financial planning for the future becoming more important to students. SU was one of eight universities that the FSCA visited in 2024. The others included the North-West University, Rhodes University, University of Limpopo, University of Johannesburg, University of Free State, University of KwaZulu Natal, and Sefako Makgatho University in the North-West.

“Through constant interaction and feedback sessions based on the Monitoring and Evaluation processes, we continue to witness first-hand the positive impact of financial literacy on students' lives such as improved budgeting skills and heightened awareness of financial pitfalls."