Tuition Fees in South African Universities

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Learn all about finances and Tuition fees in South African Universities

If you are considering studying a bachelor’s, master’s or any other degree, you should be thinking about finances

Studying in South Africa is a great idea. There are really good colleges, nice landscapes, beautiful cities, all you can dream of. But there is a big aspect we can´t ignore: Tuition fees. Students continue protesting against the big raise fees have been showing. Also, they are expected to keep rising over the next decade.

Tuition fees in South Africa vary depending on the university, whether it is private or public, the discipline and your citizenship status.

Tuition Fees at Public Universities

There are over 20 public universities in South Africa, and tuition fees vary depending on their policy, the type and length of studies, the students’ nationality, and so on.

If we take the University of the Witwatersrand as an example, we can find the following numbers: 

Bachelor’s degrees: Local’s tuition is nearly between 1,500–3,850 EUR per study program. Foreign students pay double local tuition, so, it is twice as much as what local students pay.  

Master’s degrees: Locals usually pay between 720–12,800 EUR per study program. Foreign students pay double local tuition, so, it is twice as much as local students and also need to pay an additional International Registration Fee (IRF) of 340 EUR.

Students from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member countries (Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, etc.) aren’t considered foreign students and pay the same tuition as local South African students. 

You need to keep in mind that any of these fees include the costs of books and other study materials or the costs of memberships at sports clubs.

Tuition Fees at Private Universities

Private universities tend to be a lot more expensive than public universities in South Africa. They also have different systems to calculate tuition. Some have one amount for the entire study programs, others use a ‘cost per credit’ system, and so on.

Let’s take the Cornerstone Institute as an example. This institute employs a ‘cost per credit’ system and the cost for one credit goes between 14 and 30 EUR. Take into account that study programs have between 120–144 credits per year.

This particular university includes some additional fees like: 

Application fee: 17 EUR
Annual payment plan: 130 EUR
Technology fee: 25 EUR

Based on these parameters, we can say that the most affordable universities in South Africa are: 

  1. Cape Peninsula University of Technology: Bachelors and Masters start at 36 EUR per year.
  2. North-West University (NWU): Bachelors start at 400 EUR per year.
  3. University of Johannesburg: Masters start at 755 EUR per year.

Now you have all the information you need regarding tuition fees at South African universities. From here, you can start making your own college budget, and adjusting your finances to what you think will be best. 

Also, you need to take into account that students need between 300 and 750 EUR to cover the monthly costs of living in South Africa if you are thinking of moving out of your house when starting college. 

And that´s a wrap. If you need more help when signing up at a bachelor’s degree program, leave your personal information at the chart above, and we will contact you to help you. 

To learn more about master’s degrees in South Africa, continue navigating on

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