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These are the 20 most expensive schools in South Africa

These are the 20 most expensive schools in South Africa

While South African President Jacob Zuma has ruled out any increases in university tuition fees for  2016, the same doesn’t apply for the country’s finest schools.

The country’s most expensive schools have adjusted their fee structures for 2016, and are now more expensive than ever.

With an annual fee of R235,960, Hilton College in Kwa-Zulu Natal has increased its fees by more than R16,000 and remains South Africa’s most expensive private school.

Roedean School for Girls, located in Houghton, Johannesburg, has jumped into second spot, ahead of Michaelhouse in KZN, if one includes boarding fees, and a building levy fee of R4,977.

Hilton charges a R58,990 a non-refundable entry fee on acceptance, as does the school several kilometers up the N3 highway, Michaelhouse – R28,125 for SA residents, and R56,250 for non residents for 2017.

The Balgowan school noted on its website that its boarding fee of R225,000 for 2016 is only an estimate, while parents paying the entire amount upfront receive a handy 4% discount.

Rounding out the top five are St Andrews College, in Grahamstown, and St Johns in Johannesburg. Kearsney College, which was in the top five in 2015, has not published its 2016 fee structure.

Read: Inside one of South Africa’s most elite schools

Hilton College – R235 960 – KZN Midlands

Hilton College

Hilton College

 Roedean School for Girls – R220 276 – Johannesburg

Roedean School for Girls

Roedean School for Girls

Michaelhouse – R225,000 – KZN Midlands

MichaelhouseSt Andrews College – R182,700 – Grahamstown

St Andrews

St Andrews

Kearsney College – R211,500 – Botha’s Hill, KZN

Kearsney College

Kearsney College

Most expensive schools in SA (2016)

School Annual Fee (Board) Annual Fee (Day) 2015 Increase
Hilton College R235 960 N/A R219 500 7.5%
Michaelhouse R225 000 N/A R208 320 8.0%
Roedean School for Girls R220 276 R124 297 R196 539 8.0%*
St Andrews College R216 900 R96 960 R199 140 8.9%
Kearsney College R211 500 R145 500 R195 800 8.0%
St Johns R210 352 R124 618 R194 231 8.3%
St Stithians R201 316 R117 470 R181 693 10.8%
St Martins R199 200 R120 900 R184 460 8.0%
St Andrew’s School for Girls R198 540 R111 110 R189 830 4.6%
Bishops R198 340 R113 440 R184 120 7.7%
St Mary’s School Waverley R198 150 R109 450 R181 900 8.9%
St Alban’s College R197 300 R112 200 R181 000 9.0%
St Mary’s DSG -Pretoria R190 800 R104 100 R173 700 9.8%
Diocesan School for Girls Grahamstown R187 260 R93 800 R171 810 9.0%
Kingswood College R186 090 R97 410 R171 030 8.8%
St Cyprians  R175 630  R93 880 R159 774 9.9%
St Mary’s School for Girls R170 710 R92 440 R166 155 2.7%
Herschel Girls’ School R169 320 R88 800 R157 560 7.5%
Treverton College R167 620 R85 460 R149 800 11.9%
The Wykeham Collegiate R165 320 R87 940 R154 820 6.8%

*Excluding levies 

More on Education in SA

Most expensive schools in South Africa in 2015

Most expensive schools in South Africa


Gareth is the editor at BusinessTech. Gareth was previously the ICT Editor at BusinessLive/I-Net Bridge. Gareth holds a degree in Journalism from Rhodes University....
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  • Lone Stranger

    Imagine what I will do with my kids on day, if they fail in one of these schools.

    • I don’t think I want to know…

  • Nokuthula

    O.m.g

  • Veldmeisie

    Relief that my kids are done with school!

  • Anthony Ant

    Not sure where the writer went to school, but Hilton has not increased its fees by more than R21k when looking at the above table.( actual is R16 460?)

  • Douglas

    Great traditional state schools like Pretoria Boys High, Pretoria Girls, King Edward VII School, Maritzburg College and a some others are as good as or better than these schools. This becomes crystal clear when you look at the achievements of their alumni.

    • Do the right thing

      Totally agree , would be great for the writer to include their comparative fees – Of recent Elon musk used one of these

    • Tman

      The only catch is; Your kid pretty much needs to be a superstar in one (or more) of the following categories to get admitted to these “cheaper” schools: Academic, sport or culture.

      • Mossel

        If you stay in the area of the school, they cant reject you.

        • Snowlockk

          They can if they are full. All they have to do is put everyone on a list and then choose the ones they want.

          • Mossel

            I speak under correction, but as far as I understand you have a basic right to education. Thus, your nearest school cannot deny you that right. If they do, then they can get into a whole lot of trouble.

          • Snowlockk

            But if there is no space open….. . These schools can be full at the beginning of the previous year.

          • Mossel

            There is no such thing as no space for kids in the vicinity. These kids will get in first, the ones applying from farther away might get rejected though.

          • Snowlockk

            A school can only hold so many kids. If all spots are taken..

          • Mossel

            You seem to be missing the point. They are not legally allowed to show you the door, you cannot be denied your basic right to education. Thus, if the school you are applying to is closest, they must take you in. The kids living further away will then get rejected if there are limited space.

          • Jon Low

            If you live 300m from the school’s front gate, it is illegal for them to deny you entry but then to allow entry to an applicant who lives 305m from the gate but who happens to hold the SA U15 discus record or whose father is an MP.

          • charl van staden

            Stop making up your crap and actually give correct facts.

          • Jon Low

            Those ARE the facts. There was a recent case of a boy’s application to Paul Roos Gymnasium being declined even though his home was “in the zone”. His parents were furious and accused the school of rejecting his application because he was black, and that was why they had put up the “House Full” signs.

            Invesigations by the Department — as well as a hostile news media gaggle, eager to unearth another “racism” story — proved that the school was indeed 100% chocker, and that the boy in question lived 4km from the school but only 1km from the half-full township school closest to his own front door. And that the last successful applicant, furthest from the school’s front gate, was only 2.7km from the school. Nobody at all beyond a 3km radius got in.

          • Kerry Sidwell Wilson

            KES in Joburg some years only takes siblings and only from the area.

          • All kids have spots. It comes from eating junk food.

    • Jon Low

      Yet there are those who disagree and who feel the expensive private school ticks some boxes that the traditional state school does not. For instance, Diocesan College (Bishops) is private and right next door to Rondebosch BHS, an illustrious traditional state boys’ school. Yet Bishops is never short of applicants — even from parents who live under 200m from either school.

    • Piet pompies

      well ofcourse if you have 8 times more people you are going to have a “bigger” alumni.

      • Douglas

        I mentioned one example of the achievements of these extraordinary state schools. I could mention many others.

        • Piet pompies

          And you can’t do statistics.

          • Douglas

            I certainly could on some of the schools but it would take too long, but here are a few tidbits about King Edward VII School.
            The following is an excerpt from an entry made by a Maritzsburg old boy on a school rugby blog about 4 years ago.
            I offer the following to the debates that have been going on:
            “As a matter of interest, when I was a lazy varsity student with too much time on my hands in 1992, I grabbed hold of a copy of Southern Africa’s Who’s Who and tabulated the schools, which those luminaries attended. Since reading some of the comments today, I went up into the attic and hunted down my old notes, written 20 years ago. The list makes for interesting reading: 1 KES (158 entries), 2 Jeppe (106), 3 Michaelhouse (103), 4 DHS (102), 5 St John’s (98), and 10 Grey HS (71). As a matter of interest, Grey College came in at 14th (56 entries), the Pride of Maritzburg at 17th (37 entries).”
            Only five schools in the top 20 were private schools.
            To date KIng Edward’s has produced 236 international sportsmen, which includes 27 cricketers. As far as I know M College has produced in excess of 240. Only Durban High School has produced more cricket internationals than King Edward. Please note that that MC and DHS are also premier state schools. I am not aware of any other school which has produced more such sportsmen.
            At the end of the last century, the Financial Mail divided human endeavor into 8 categories in order to choose the top achiever in each category for the 20th century. Three of the categories were won by KES old boys: Sport- Gary Player, Business – Sir Donald Gordon and Art – William Kentridge. I would guess that is more than all the private schools in the country combined.
            Recently, three KES old boys served on the Constitutional Court, I.e. Justices: Johan Kriegler, Richard Goldstone and Sir Sydney Kentridge.
            I have a great many more interesting facts, but those should satisfy your request.

      • Douglas

        W keeper and KES old boy injured so won’t start today’s test. Replaced by another KES old boy Dane Villas.

  • Mossel

    Ridiculous, it’s 4x more expensive than University.
    I agree with Douglas below, I don’t see what these schools can offer compared to schools like Paarl Gymnasium, Paarl Boys’ High, Paul Roos. I mean hell, even the good ol’ northern suburb schools like DF, Stellenberg, Durbanville are all fantastic schools.

    • Snowlockk

      These school offer alumna, The majority of graduates are either rich or very successful. When you graduate you can use the school name to open doors.

      • This is 100% correct and works globally, no only in SA.

      • Ray Mulder

        The same thing happens in the ANC and they have very little education. Buddy buddy systems often lead to corruption and decline.

        • Snowlockk

          Yes but schools like Hilton have very good standards. Where the ANC’s only has high standards in Theft, corruption and sexual assault.

        • The BOSS

          You mean like the way Chris Hart made his way to be Chief Economic analyst at a financial institution i won’t name? Without the proper qualification? Both the public and private sector are wrong in this regard. Don’t be one sided, analyze things carefully from all aspects

          • Ray Mulder

            Sorry to wake you. I was actually balancing the argument. You can go back to sleep now 🙂

    • Jon Low

      It’s not for you to choose — private schools are for wealthy people, just like how Bentleys are for wealthy people. The buyers perceive their spending to be worth their money.

  • Ray Mulder

    These kids are usually snobs like their parents. Money buys stuff that no amount of education can.
    Knowledge is key but money is power in this sick world.

    • Clueless

      totally agree, most are inflicted with the apples not falling far from the tree syndrome, snobbish and ignorant of how the other half lives

      • Jon

        Again, what do you base this on? Did you ever spend time in the real world with people who went to these schools?

        • Clueless

          I base it on my experience in having been invited to their matric balls and other functions – upper class toffs in the true sense of the word. Of course not all are like that…..

    • Julian Titshall

      I am one of these parents, but we have sacrificed to be able to send our kids to one of these schools. We are middle class, and are about as far from being snobs as can be. We have however made a decision to send our kids to the best possible schools, and have given up much in order to do this. Yes there are ‘snobs’ in the mix, but have you seen the fancy cars collecting kids from the ‘cheap’ schools? We drive a secondhand Ford, not a Beemer or a Merc, but our kids are getting the best that we can afford. I think the snobs are the BMW and Merc drivers that send their kids to crappy schools so that they can drive the fancy cars.

      • Douglas

        The great traditional state schools of South Africa are the best. Unfortunately, there are at most only about 30 of them. Outside these very special schools, there are a good number of very good state schools.

      • Ray Mulder

        Let me just get my violin. So you suffered did you? And how much better do you think your kid is? Are you saying that kids in cheaper schools are stupider than your kid? And maybe they can afford a better car than you simply because you wanted to act like you had lits of money. Suffering comes from our own ignorance.

        • Jon Low

          I think that if HE perceives his own money to be well-spent, then who are you to argue?

          • Ray Mulder

            Perception is based on propaganda and the best commercials.

          • Jon Low

            Be that as it may, your discretionary earnings are yours to spend at nobody’s discretion but your own. That’s freedom.

          • Ray Mulder

            Agreed

    • Jon

      What do you base this argument on?

      I went to a private, IEB school (not on this list but expensive anyway) and my family is lower-mid-income and aren’t snobs and drove “not so great” cars.

      I had buddies who went to school with me who had even less. Lived in poor areas and battled to buy new uniforms each year etc..

      I also had buddies in government schools who were filthy rich….

      • Ray Mulder

        More successful people have had little to no formal education. You are what you are not because of the amount of money your parents paid for your education but by the inner will. Just look at the people out there who lifted themselves out of poverty by their own doing.

        • Piet pompies

          let us compare who are more successful on average, those with decent education or those with no formal education? The ones that are successful with no education are complete out lies. You cant use those people as examples they where either really lucky or had other skills that they got somewhere else.

          • Ray Mulder

            So Piet does it then mean that school is not required to be successful if we can… and I quote you “had other skills that they got somewhere else”?

          • Pulane

            A BEE skill I guess

  • CharlieTango

    Would be interesting to do a comparative with matric results and other schools. The perception with high fee schools is that they attract skilled educators – but that may not be the case.

    • The fees certainly attract more and better resources in an environment conducive for education. From experience, our peers’ kids and our kids sailed through difficult degrees in varsity as they were well prepared and streamed. One of the better private schools in our area actually boasts the highest passes in medicine and engineering from Wits on an ongoing basis. The results are there but government schools should all be at a level that give a good education like my generation got here and in Europe for example. Private schooling like private medical insurance are a must if you can afford it.

  • v_3

    Missing from the article was the matric (or IEB) pass rate of these schools.

    According to Equal Education, the official pass rate of 70% becomes 40% when the “Model C” results are excluded. Dr Verwoerd would approve; another Good Story from the ZANC.

  • Tommy

    Great Colonialist achievements !!!
    Just wondering if anything equal or greater than the list represented above was built in the last 20 years.
    Just asking….

  • Mezwell

    These schools are all overpriced.
    A close relative of mine who was chairman of the board of an ex catholic school used the following formula for academic fees. Total pupils divided by 20, times average teacher annual salary, times 3, eguals total annual school budget. Therefore you estimate 20 pupils per class with a teacher earning R300 000. We therefore get R15 000 per pupil to cover the cost of the teacher. Multiply that by 3 to cover all other costs and you get R45 000 per pupil per annum;. For boarding fees you can add an equivalent amount which would come to about R5 000 per month.times 9 months. Enough money to feed the hungriest child. Total fees therefore would be about R90 000. A far cry from the the above fees.
    Who do these schools really think they are kidding? Time to start new schools to have some competition. To hell with elitism good education is what is needed.

    • Douglas

      Nothing wrong with elitism. Those who strive for it are motivated by their abhorrence of vulgarity and mediocrity.

  • Jev_LFC

    Find it hard to believe Pretoria Boys High is not on that list.

  • unreal

    I don’t like expensive schools

  • The Fly

    Snob school

  • SomeoneCT

    Another way of looking at it. If they are full time borders then its roughly R20 000 – R25 000 a month. Which is actually pretty cheap when you consider that you can easily pay R10 000 a month just for rent, plus food, electricity etc.

  • Agnes Van Berkum

    Where does Kingsmead College in Rosebank feature??

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