UPSA Vice Chancellor’s endowment fund, one year on

BY: Daily Graphic
Professor Abenego Okoe Amartey
Professor Abenego Okoe Amartey

The University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) launched the Vice-Chancellor’s Endowment Fund (VCEF) on October 19, 2017. Established as an investment fund for receiving third-party donations, as well as contributions from the university’s stakeholders, the VCEF generates operating income for scholarships.

The rationale for the establishment of the VCEF is the belief that one of the causes of poverty in developing countries is lack of education. The UPSA’s aim is to support the socio-economic development of Ghana by enabling bright, needy students to receive undergraduate and postgraduate education at the UPSA and to work for the benefit of the nation upon graduation.

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In Ghana, financial constraint is one of the reasons why students cannot enrol into tertiary institutions after completion of their senior high school education.

Over 1,350 students, who qualify to enter UPSA, are unable to do so due to lack of financial resources. Additionally, about 300 continuing students defer their studies or drop out of the university because they are unable to pay their fees.

The university receives a colossal number of 1,450 applications for financial assistance each year from continuing students. The statistics, therefore, point to a grim situation. So how does the university deal with these applications which keep coming?


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The VCEF was ,therefore, established in October last year to raise an amount of GH¢100 million. The goal of the VCEF is to improve access to university education in Ghana by enabling bright , needy students to receive free undergraduate education at the UPSA. The university continues to solicit for donations to be invested for returns which will be used for scholarships.

Objectives

The VCEF seeks to achieve the following such as to identify and support bright but financially challenged Ghanaians who desire an opportunity to undertake tertiary education at the UPSA.

It’s also to support brilliant and progressive financially challenged continuing undergraduate and postgraduate students through the provision of scholarships tenable for training at any of the UPSA faculties.

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To enable marginalised and disadvantaged Ghanaians (e.g. females, orphans, persons with disability) gain access and complete tertiary education at the UPSA; to promote co-curricular activities by supporting talented but financially challenged students (e.g., athletes and creative students) to pursue academic programmes at the UPSA.

Management of fund

The Vice Chancellor of the UPSA is responsible for the overall management of the VCEF under guidelines set by the University’s Council and in accordance with generally accepted accounting and investment principles. The vice-chancellor delegates authority and responsibilities to the VCEF Board of Trustees comprising academic, financial, management and legal experts appointed from outside the university. The VCEF Board is chaired by Mr Millison Narh, a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana. Two committees, the Fundraising and Scholarship Awards committees, as well as an appointed fund manager report to the VCEF Board of Trustees.

Story of the first beneficiary

The maiden beneficiary of the VCEF is a 19-year-old young man, Ali Inusah, son of a cattle herder. Ali Inusah and his four older brothers performed very well at school but none of them was able to progress beyond the junior high school level.

Ali was ,however, lucky, unlike his brothers; he had the opportunity to complete senior high school, scoring 7As and B2 at the West African Senior School Examination Certificate (WASSE).

 The scholarship beneficiaries for this year

But Ali did not have any high expectations beyond senior high school level as his parents – father, a cattle herder, and mother, a petty trader -- could not afford the cost of university education. 

His only expectation was perhaps to assist in the family business. Fortunately, Ali’s story was aired by Citi FM, and the Vice Chancellor of of UPSA Professor Abenego Okoe Amartey intervened.

One year on, Ali’s life has now changed for the better. He is now a Level 200 (second year) student at the UPSA, pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. Ali scored a total 3.81Grade Point Average (GPA) at the end of his first year, placing him firmly in the category of a first-class student.

Appeal

In order to help needy, brilliant students such as Ali Inusah, the VCEF is seeking to raise a seed amount of (GHS 100 million) within a period of five years. To this end, the university is appealing to its alumni, philanthropists and public-spirited individuals to donate to the UPSA VCEF. Your donation will be invested to yield returns for scholarship for needy students. This will provide access to university education at UPSA for the needy and positively contribute to improve Ghana’s human resource capital.

While a financial donation which can be easily channelled into investment is preferred, alternatively, one may wish to sponsor a specific number of students pursuing courses at the UPSA over a specific period. The cost of sponsoring one undergraduate student per year including boarding and lodging is GHS 10,320; GHS 11,320 for LLB level 100 entry and GHS 15,200 for LLB level 200 entry.

The university will also be happy to receive support for VCEF in the form of learning resources and materials.

UPSA’s Contribution

To demonstrate its commitment to the fund, the entire UPSA community has contributed and will continue to support the fund from its own sources such as: Contributions from the UPSA Governing Council; Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Registrar; directors and deans; UPSA unions and membership groups; UPSA faculties and centres; UPSA alumni; SRC and GRASAG contributions, as well as individual contributions from UPSA members.

Donor Benefits

Generally, organisations or individual donors will receive a certificate of donation and a citation for Corporate Social Responsibility from the VCEF Board. Donors will be listed on the VCEF donor register at the UPSA website if they so wish. The VCEF Fundraising Committee will discuss more specific benefits with donors. Please use the following bank details to make a direct donation to the VCEF.