INTERACTIVE GUIDE – How much will 2016 university fees cost you?


The #feesmustfall movement started in the traditional universities, but students from the universities of technology and comprehensive universities joined in because the same financial pressures apply to students across all the tertiary education institutions.

Students will be paying the same tuition fees in 2016 as they paid in 2015. But working out how much it costs to get a degree in South Africa is not as simple as you may think.

For starters, South Africa currently has 25 universities, collectively offering hundreds of different degrees.

SA’s universities are divided into the following groups:

11 traditional universities:

The University of Cape Town, University of the WitwatersrandStellenbosch University, Rhodes University , the University of the Western Cape, the University of Pretoria, University of Fort Hare, North-West University, the University of Limpopo, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of the Free State.

Former technikons now known as universities of technology:

Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Central University of Technology, Durban University of Technology, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Tshwane University of Technology and Vaal University of Technology. In 2014, two new universities of technology opened: Sol Plaatje University and the University of Mpumalanga.

Former traditional universities merged with former technikons, known as comprehensive universities:

There are six: the University of Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, University of South Africa, the University of Venda, Walter Sisulu University and the University of Zululand.

The 17 traditional and comprehensive universities offer traditional academically oriented degrees, such as Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc) or Bachelor of Commerce (BComm). The universities of technology offer more career-oriented Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degrees – generally to students who have obtained a three-year national diploma. There are a huge number of BTech degrees, ranging from fashion and emergency medical care to extraction metallurgy.

South Africa’s most expensive degree

The University of Cape Town’s Bachelor of Medicine (MBBCh) is the most expensive first-year degree out of the fees obtained by Africa Check to date. At R64,500, it costs R23,000 more than the first-year medicine degree offered by the University of the Free State.

In 2014, the University of Limpopo’s estimated tuition fee for a first-year medicine degree was the least expensive, at around R31,800. Africa Check was unable to obtain its fees for 2015 at the time of publishing, but if its MBBCh fees increase by the average 11% or less, it will remain the least expensive university for first-year medicine.

South Africa’s most expensive university

The three most expensive first-year degrees are all at the University of Cape Town (UCT): medicine is first, followed by two degrees that specialise in actuarial science, one a BBusSc and a BComm. These all cost more than R60,000 per year.

UCT also came out the most expensive when compared with the other universities on the cost of a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Science.

In fact, of the 31 degrees that were estimated to cost R50,000 or more for the first year of study, 20 were at UCT, nine were at the University of the Witwatersrand, one was at the University of Johannesburg (in the science faculty) and the last Stellenbosch University’s medicine degree.





A full list of the degrees and tuition fees published by the universities is available here.


Source: Africa Check, a non-profit fact-checking organisation.

Follow them on Twitter: @AfricaCheck

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