60 of the most expensive boarding and day schools in South Africa in 2020

After struggling through a flat economy in 2019, parents can expect the cost of private education in South Africa to escalate in 2020 – reaching record highs.

The average fee hike among the 20 most expensive schools is around 7%.

And as prices continue to climb, parents are starting to feel the pinch – with financial difficulties cited as one of the key reasons children are leaving private schools.

Private school operators, such as AdvTech, in turn have had to change their operating strategies in this sector, namely a push into mid-market private schooling options.

When BusinessTech first started tracking the most expensive schools in 2014, only one school (Hilton College) was priced over R200,000 for boarding and tuition – now in 2020, over 30 schools have moved into that price bracket.

Hilton, and nearby MichaelHouse, have since pushed into the R300,000 per year bracket.

In the 2019 listing of most expensive schools, 23 boarding schools exceeded R200,000 for the year, while 28 day schools had fees exceeding R100,000 annually.

In the 2020 listing, this has jumped to 31 boarding schools, and 58 day schools, respectively.

These are the 10 most expensive schools in 2020:

Hilton College – R321,890

Hilton College

MichaelHouse – R303,600

Michaelhouse Building

St Andrew’s College – R291,000

St Andrews

Roedean School for Girls – R287,558

Roedean School for Girls

St John’s College – R284,198

St Johns

Bishops College – R277,800

Kearsney College – R277,200

St Mary’s Waverly- R272,240

St Mary's Waverly

St Andrew’s School for Girls – R265,270

St Andrews School for Girls

St Alban’s College – R264,900

St Alban's College


Boarding schools – boarding and tuition

Hilton College in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands retains its title as the most expensive school in the country, with its annual fees (which only allows for boarding) at R321,890.

Aside from the prestige, tradition, and beautiful facilities and grounds, the fees generally cover tuition, board, games, ordinary medical attention, the use of the sanatorium, library and laundry. It also includes basic entertainment which is arranged for learners, and transport for sporting and other events.

MichaelHouse is now the only other school to have fees over R300,000 in the country, with its 2020 fees at R303,600. Hilton and MichaelHouse increased fees in-line with other schools at 8% and 7%, respectively.

It must be noted that most schools do not include additional fees in this amount. Additional fees can typically relate to various levies, such as IT and infrastructure, as well as further costs for food, extra mural activities and trips.

Depending on the level of services provided, these fees will push the total amount payable by parents each year much higher.

The fees listed below are as they appear on the various schools’ web pages, and cover board and tuition only. Fees are for the highest level of learning available (up to grade 12). They include only the listed tuition fees, and exclude voluntary or additional fees (where listed). We’ve included the annual increase for schools where we have historic data.

School 2019 2020 Change
Hilton R298 600 R321 890 +8%
MichaelHouse R284 000 R303 600 +7%
St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown R271 965 R291 000 +7%
Rodean School for Girls R270 006 R287 558 +7%
St John’s College R264 735 R284 189 +7%
Bishops College R259 620 R277 800 +7%
Kearsney College R259 600 R277 200 +7%
St Mary’s, Waverly R254 345 R272 240 +7%
St Andrew’s School for Girls, Senderwood R250 220 R265 270 +6%
St Alban’s College R247 650 R264 900 +7%
St Stithians R247 765 R260 320 +5%
Kingswood College R240 735 R258 810 +8%
St Mary’s DSG, Pretoria R236 160 R252 690 +7%
Diocesan School for Girls, Grahamstown R235 890 R252 390 +7%
St David’s College New R246 680
Bridge House R218 950 R237 940 +9%
St Martin’s New R236 500
Somerset College R222 070 R236 500 +6%
St Cyprian’s R218 800 R234 000 +7%
St Anne’s Diocesan College R214 980 R230 040 +7%
The Wykeham Collegiate R212 580 R228 600 +8%
St Benedict’s New R223 830
Treverton College R207 200 R223 780 +8%
Crawford College North Coast R207 830 R220 490 +6%
Durban Girls’ College New R219 500
St Charles’ College New R213 800
Uplands College New R212 500
Herschel Girls’ School R203 670 R210 350 +3%
Epworth High School for Girls R192 339 R206 765 +8%
Bishop Bavin School New R201 600
Woodridge College New R201 121

Day schools – tuition only

When taking out the boarding options, the list of most expensive schools changes considerably (with MichaelHouse and Hilton removed, as they do not offer day school options).

While R200,000 is the ‘benchmark’ level for expensive tuition and board, when it comes to tuition only, there are many schools that now charge over R100,000 a year.

Kearsney College again ranks as the most expensive day school in the country with an annual tuition fee of just over R190,000, up 7% from 2019.

With this average increase across most schools, there are a large number of new entries into the R100,000-plus per year price range.

School 2019 2020 Change
Kearsney College R178 640 R190 740 +7%
St John’s College R156 836 R167 658 +7%
Roedean School for Girls R152 982 R162 926 +7%
Bishops College R148 240 R158 620 +7%
Clifton School, Durban New R151 707
St Mary’s, Waverly R140 845 R151 470 +8%
Crawford College Sandton R142 790 R151 290 +6%
St Alban’s College R140 850 R150 600 +7%
St Stithian’s R140 550 R150 110 +7%
King David High School New R149 640
Redhill School R139 235 R148 981 +7%
St David’s New R148 400
Kingsmead College R146 045 R147 600 +1%
St Andrew’s School for Girls, Senderwood R135 000 R143 100 +6%
Crawford College La Lucia R134 610 R141 990 +5%
SAHETI New R138 494
St Martin’s New R138 000
St Mary’s DSG, Pretoria R128 970 R138 000 +7%
Kingswood College R127 305 R136 860 +8%
Crawford College Lonehill R128 160 R136 740 +7%
Crawford College Pretoria R127 150 R134 650 +6%
St Peter’s College, Sunninghill New R134 424
Beaulieu College New R133 966
St Benedict’s New R132 340
Sacred Heart New R130 898
St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown R121 566 R130 074 +7%
Brescia House New R128 000
St Cyprian’s R118 800 R128 000 +8%
Herzlia High School New R127 092
Diocesan School for Girls, Grahamstown R118 190 R126 458 +7%
St Anne’s Diocesan College R117 580 R125 820 +7%
Somerset College R118 160 R125 800 +6%
St Charles’ College New R125 400
Woodridge College R114 363 R123 455 +8%
The Wykeham Collegiate R114 580 R123 200 +8%
Bridge House R113 950 R122 960 +8%
Crawford College North Coast R115 530 R122 650 +6%
Durban Girls’ College New R120 900
Heronbridge College New R119 280
Holy Rosary School New R118 665
Michael Mount Waldorf School New R116 523
Oak Hill College New R114 002
Parklands College New R111 995
Uplands College New R110 500
Herschel Girls’ School R109 000 R110 000 +1%
Thomas More College New R109 600
Treverton College R100 760 R108 820 +8%
Oakley House New R108 243
Crawford College Ruimsig New R107 710
Epworth High School for Girls New R106 780
St Henry’s Marist College New R106 390
Bishop Bavin School New R106 200
Trinity House Little Falls New R105 840
Trinity House Randpark Ridge New R105 840
Cedar House New R104 570
Marist Brothers Linmeyer New R103 400
St Dunstan’s College New R103 200
Christian Brothers’ College Boksburg New R101 280

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60 of the most expensive boarding and day schools in South Africa in 2020