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These are the 20 most expensive schools in South Africa in 2017

These are the 20 most expensive schools in South Africa in 2017

With a tumultuous political and financial year behind us, South African parents can expect to pay much more for the country’s top private schools in 2017.

The country’s most expensive schools have adjusted their fee structures for 2017, and are now more expensive than ever – implementing fee increases ranging from 2.2% to a staggering 14%

Notably, when BusinessTech first covered the most expensive schools in 2014, only one school (Hilton College) was priced over R200,000 for boarding and tuition – now in 2017, 14 schools have moved into that price range.

Hilton College in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands maintains its position as the most expensive school in the country, with an annual fee of R253,660 for 2017 – an increase of 7.5% from 2016’s fee of R235,960.

Like its KwaZulu Natal midlands counterpart, Michaelhouse, Hilton does not offer a ‘day student’ option for learners, with annual board being compulsory.

Roedean School for Girls in Parktown has shot up the list to second place in 2017, with an annual fee of R236,795, while St Andrews College in Grahamstown has moved to third place with an annual fee of R235,335.

The top five is rounded out by St Stithian’s which charges R229,010, and St John’s, which charges R226,965.

At the time of writing, Michaelhouse had not yet updated its site with its 2017 fees – but its increase is likely to push it back into one of the top spots. However, even at 2016’s level, the school remains the 6th most expensive in the country.

The fees listed below are as they appear on the various schools’ web pages, and cover tuition and boarding. Schools where the 2017 fees were not available show the 2016 fees and are indicated with a * . Fees are for the highest level of learning available, and do not include levies, admission fees, or optional extras.


Hilton College, Howick — R253,660

Hilton College

Hilton College

Roedean School for Girls, Parktown – R236,795

Roedean School for Girls

Roedean School for Girls

St Andrews College, Grahamstown — R235,335

St Andrews

St Andrews

St Stithians, Sandton – R229,010

St Stithians

St Stithians

St Johns College, Houghton‚ Johannesburg – R226,965

St Johns

St Johns

*Michaelhouse, Balgowan – R221,950


Bishops‚ Rondebosch – R219,510



St Andrew’s School for Girls, Senderwood – R219,450

St Andrews School for Girls

St Andrews School for Girls

St Martins school, Rosettenville – R217,330

St Martins

St Martins

St Mary’s School Waverley – R215,200

St Mary's Waverly

St Mary’s Waverly

Most expensive schools in SA (2017, boarding)

School 2017 2016 %Change
Hilton College R253 660 R235 960 7.5%
Roedean School for Girls R236 795 R220 276 7.5%
St Andrew’s College R235 335 R216 900 8.5%
St Stithian’s R229 010 R201 316 13.8%
St John’s R226 965 R210 352 7.9%
*Michaelhouse R225 000
Bishops R219 510 R198 340 10.7%
St Andrew’s School for Girls R219 450 R198 540 10.5%
St Martin’s R217 330 R199 200 9.1%
St Mary’s School Waverley R215 200 R198 150 8.6%
St Alban’s College R212 600 R197 300 7.8%
*Kearsney College R211 500
Kingswood College R203 400 R186 090 9.3%
Diocesan School for Girls Grahamstown R203 190 R187 260 8.5%
St Mary’s DSG -Pretoria R194 940 R190 800 2.2%
St Cyprian’s R191 550 R175 630 9.0%
St Mary’s School for Girls Kloof R182 740 R170 710 7.0%
The Wykeham Collegiate R182 140 R165 320 10.2%
Herschel Girls’ School R180 040 R169 320 6.3%
*Treverton College R167 620

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  • kid black

    Saint Kapital

  • Zaheer

    Its all relative – you want a certain std – you pay the price or take what is in your own budget – i pay 3500 a year for school fees. Im okay with that. If you okay to spend 240k a year to educate your child – go ahead – just dont let your child lose his/her identity.

    • Maestro

      Kids who go to private schools don’t lose their identity. They build too much of an ego on their parents’ strength. Then live a life of feeling entitled and end up really nowhere continually leeching off their parents.

      Parents who also earn above a certain bracket (income), find children to be a burden once the hit adolescence and rather prefer to throw them into a boarding school so it’s the headache of someone else.

      • Fanandala

        What a load of poppycock. You are repeating stereotypes. This certainly applies in some cases but you can not say this is the norm.

    • Abduraghmaan Van Oordt

      Well said Maestro. I also pay R3500 per annum but that’s all that I can afford at the moment – It’s a local semi private school. I’d rather splash out on Tersiary Education once we emigrate.

  • Touljier

    While it’s refreshing to know that kids of all races are able to attend these schools, I can bet my 2 front teeth that they were all built Pre 1994 or if post 1994 was built with no government funding

    • Sennen Goroshi

      ummm a lot of schools were built pre 94 both private and public… what’s your point?

      • Touljier

        Between the words while and funding

        • Deal_with__it


    • bengine

      yeeerrrss … and …?

      • Touljier


        • bengine


    • Madimetsha

      South Africa existed way before 1994, there were schools before 1994…… the top 10, 9 of those schools were founded over 100 years back, while 1 was founded in 1953.

      if they were built before 1994, its ohkay to have used state funds for private entities?

      with the reputation of the previous regime, , its hard to tell who actually paid , chances are state funds were used , same way companies like Old Mutual were financed using state “finance” which was never repaid….


      • Touljier

        Thanks for reminding me that South Africa existed before 1994

    • Deal_with__it

      Why should a private elite school be built with government funding? Is this somehow surprising for you? Point?

      • Touljier

        Between the words while and funding

        • Deal_with__it

          Well that is just deeply deluded. By definition, private schools are non-government.

  • Nicolaas Geldenhuys

    Guess I’m not having kids.

    • Jakes

      Thank God ours are out of school and busy with tertiary ed: it’s cheaper to send your kids to varsity!

    • Itumeleng Malapela Letebele

      am sure you will get some good affordable schools.

  • MP3

    they should change the schools names to St Expensive

    • lino_lupus

      ….Do your kids attend Wholly Expensive Family ???

  • Skerminkel

    O, so British. Rhodes would be smiling.

    • Skerminkel

      Actually, I suspect ol’ Cecil would think it quite splendid. For Queen and Empire!

  • AndrewWheelerDealer

    You are caught between a rock and a hard place. The private school fees are ridiculous, but the government is not prioritising education like it needs to. I don’t want my kids to be burnt by a government school the way I was.
    What is the government schooling going to look like in 15 years time?
    We are already bottom of the world for maths and science, and the government is trying to say that its okay.
    (Well, if all you aspire to be is a bricklayer, no offense to that noble profession, then good for you. But if you want to compete on a world stage, we need to do better. And, there is no political will to make it happen.)
    The only option for concerned parents is to borrow a truck load of money and hope to sort it out in due course…

    • Skerminkel

      The story is about the most expensive schools. There are many very good private schools that are affordable for middle income families. You can look at the Curro schools, for example.

      • Stefan Buys

        Jip, my kids will attend Curro. Still bloody expensive, but we value quality education. Unfortunately, the Department of Education doesn’t seem to have the same thinking…

        • Skerminkel

          To an extent yes, but most of the top schools in the country are still DBE schools with excellent teachers. This despite the best efforts of the ANC!

        • Barry Jessop

          There are many “former Model C” schools all over the country that still provide outstanding education as good if not better than many private schools. Boys can board at SACS, Wynberg and Rondebosch for less than R100 000 annually. Day pupils will pay approx. R40 000. This is a marked difference to the schools on this list. My sons attended Wynberg and it was very good.

          • Stefan Buys

            Agree, we have Paul Roos (looking at boys only) as our nearest school that I would rate in that category.

          • Hennie

            You can only attend those schools if you live near those schools.

  • Bob

    “The country’s most expensive schools have adjusted their fee structures for 2017, and are now more expensive than ever”

    Haha, who would have thought

  • Prof. Klinghoffer

    The one little detail omitted from the article is the fact that even the very expensive private schools have to teach the ANC and Kadar Asmal’s useless curriculum.

    SO MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN. If you have a relative in UK or elsewhere in Europe, send your kids their state schools, it’s cheaper.

    • BrS

      The UK has plenty of bad schools, and the government keeps tweaking the curriculum.

      • Prof. Klinghoffer

        Grammar and public schools in UK are far superior. No comparison with SA schools, private or otherwise.

        The proof? Check any English person speaking at Globes or Oscars and compare them with US actors or Charlize.

    • A.A

      They might write the same finals, but I’m sure they are taught much more than required for exams. I would say they focus on prepping the students for varsity where they start with a great advantage over other students and excel greatly. I won’t argue, R250k is a moerse lot!

      • Progressive Pariah

        Finals are different too, The IEB sets their own exams.

    • TC

      Although all schools need to teach in line with CAPS, the curricula vary vastly.
      I schooled through a private school based on the American high school system and the curriculum was notably different. Yes, they are still mandated to offer Life Orientation and the like, but the focus lies on core subjects (i.e. pure Maths, English, Science, and Social sciences) and one gains a decidedly different (dare I say superior) education.
      I feel justified in my last statement since I attended public school for almost my entire primary school career. I concur with other comments that there are numerous public schools that offer a good education, and would like to state that I didn’t mean to imply that one needs to attend a private school to receive a superior education.

      • Prof. Klinghoffer

        Over the last 10 years the curricula have changed so rapidly (OBE, CAPS and God knows what they teach now) that teachers are more confused than the students.

        • TC

          I agree wholeheartedly. You have hit the nail on its head.

  • Antony

    No mention of the grades here, as every grade has a different fee. But these look like matric fees.

  • Danie

    There school probably also share the following: They are English only since inception. They probably never cared about teaching any local language ever. But that is probably not discrimination of any sort. Why not directing the #feesmustfall campaign to these institutions.

  • Pfãrè

    Do they even install intelligent brain? I cannot afford to waste 250k for a fail.

    But the schools looks healthy, damn.

  • beeshaas

    If you can afford 250k per annum for schooling, all they need to know is how to manage their trust fund.

  • Wulvz

    Kearsney for 2017 is R238 500. In my year it was R205 000

    • We meet on the forums my well scored compatriot

  • Ben

    It’s all relative but….is it?

    The R40k+ tuition fees I pay per annum is ridiculously expensive to someone who lives in a shack, and certainly for the majority of parents in South Africa. In fact this is expensive for me too but I can still manage with one child.

    I see a great value for a school charging R40k pa compared to a typical government school. I’m still not satisfied though with the level of teaching as I find myself still having to put a lot of effort in my child’s knowledge such as to breakdown what a mathematical concept mean in real life as opposed to just being able to do a calculation on paper.

    On the other hand, I ask myself what more from an education and sporting perspective are those kids paying R150k+ getting compared to those from lower-end ‘private schools’.

    Maybe we shouldn’t be judgmental because if I look at how people typically choose to purchase one car over another it’s more a matter of affordability than really getting value of beyond the price of a cheaper alternative….meaning that if we all afforded these prices maybe most of us would enroll our children in these schools.

  • Ab Irato

    I am willing to bet what is left of last month’s pay the ANC ministers’ kids are also in these schools…

    • Lindo

      Well easy for you to bet your last 10 bucks:-)

  • acidraid

    Would be interesting to see without boarding, because then we would actually know what this means.

  • Nero55

    Well take the UK’s top school: Eton costs: R611,523 / year at R16.5/pound. About three times more. Or the US top school: Philips Academy: R745,030 / year at R14.3 /$…
    Food for thought.

  • Nero55

    Perhaps an article of the most expensive day schools for comparison.

  • johnramsunder

    The State schools before 1994 were excellent and produced the finest students of all time. Thereafter after 1994 with the ANC government of our children are forced to go to the the State schools because of the high fees of private schools. The education standard of the state schools is not recognized in many pasts of the world. A very sad situation as there would be no need for our children to even look at these private schools if the present state of the schools cold be jacked up.

  • mlub

    My kids are on home-schooling with other kids. It’s affordable, more personalised teaching.

  • Ray Mulder

    The exam certificates are printed on gold foil I guess.

  • Mo

    Son … for 240 000/year I’m expecting 42 distinctions.

  • Bill

    These schools are just for the super rich, like CEOs and managers of Cell C, MTN, etc, etc, that’s not even my combined families salary, I guess most South Africans don’t even earn half that.

  • Xonix

    Geez, more than I earn in a year,

  • Khalid Osman

    They should provide prices for tuition only for the schools that offer tuition only option (not compulsory boarding)

  • Epah101

    Went to Treverton college, wouldn’t recommend it to anyone .


      😮 wow….really? what happened?

  • MP3

    keeps most of the riff-raff out i’m sure

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