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Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

On-line version ISSN 2520-9868
Print version ISSN 0259-479X


WILDSCHUT, Angelique; MEGBOWON, Ebenezer  and  MISELO, Amanda. Impact of funding on academic performance: An exploration of two South African universities. Journal of Education [online]. 2020, n.81, pp.29-49. ISSN 2520-9868.

Empirical evidence on the relationship between student funding and academic performance is unclear. Some studies have found a positive relationship, some have suggested a negative one, while others maintain that there is no relationship between them. Acknowledging that a range of factors, other than funding, impact on student success, in this paper, we aim to contribute to a small, but emerging, body of literature on the relationship between student funding and academic performance, proxied by the average individual academic mark for the year. We applied descriptive and inferential statistics to a dataset of 29,619 students registered at two South African universities for the 2018 academic year. The results highlight that in an examination of the impact of being funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in a bivariate context, it is possible to find a negative relationship with performance. However, at an aggregate level and controlling for the impact of other variables, a positive (albeit weak) and statistically significant correlation between being NSFAS funded and average academic performance emerges.

Keywords : academic performance; student funding; South Africa; higher education; average individual scores.

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