Top SA universities: how much they cost

 ·13 Jan 2015
Tuition fees SA

As thousands of students enter university for the first time, BusinessTech looks at the tuition fees and living costs at the top tertiary education institutions in South Africa for 2015.

BusinessTech looks at how much SA students at the top universities in South Africa will need to cover their chosen Bachelor’s costs for the first year of study and includes the following undergraduate degrees:

  • Bachelor of Commerce (BCom);
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA);
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc);
  • Bachelor of Law (LLB, undergraduate);
  • Bachelor of Science/Engineering (BEng).

It should be noted that university fees are determined by the modules taken to complete the respective courses, not as a complete degree.

The fees listed below give a range in which various bachelor degrees in the respective faculties fall. The fees are applicable to first year studies for 2015.

For institutions where no Bachelor of Engineering is offered, a Bachelor of Science in Engineering is featured.

University BA BCom BSc LLB BEng
University of Cape Town R43,500 – R59,000 R50,000 – R62,500 R51,000 – R64,500 R46,500 – R52,000 R51,500 – R53,000
University of the Witwatersrand R33,640 – R43,320 R42,010 – R43,320 R41,080 – R58,580 R32,470 R40,170 – R48,150
Stellenbosch University R32,534 R33,164 – R46,338 R37,880 – R40,749 R39,606 R45,070
University of KwaZulu Natal R38,160 – R46,700 R39,170 R30,940 – R39,600 R36,500 R39,150 – R40,000
University of Pretoria R25,710 – R36,270 R34,720 – R39,610 R36,880 – R54,620 R31,800 R35,530 – R43,670
Rhodes University R37,200 R40,700 R38,700 – R40,700 R41,730 n/a
University of Johannesburg R29,170 – R35,970 R29,140 – R37,000 R30,600 – R50,940 R29,460 – R33,840 R34,500 – R42,600
North-West University R28,140 – R49,200 R38,600 – R41,050 R38,400 – R44,650 R36,500 R43,900


Universities also offer various housing and accommodation for students.

The University of Cape Town’s mountain views come at the greatest cost to students looking for accommodation, with a single residence (self-catering) costing R50,100 per student per year, with double rooms coming in at R35,800 per student per year.

On the opposite end of the scale, North-West University’s residences are less than half that, at R18,280 for a single room residence, and R17,630 for a double room sharing residence.

Wits res students can expect to pay R30,192 for single and R27,232 for double sharing accommodation – the second highest fees.

Stellenbosch students will pay approximately R35,000 (for girls) and R36,000 (for boys) and R29,000 – R30,000 for single and double residences, respectively.

More government-sponsored students

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced on Monday (12 January 2015) that the government has increased funding to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to cater for poor and disabled students.

The NSFAS will be funding 205,000 first-time entering and continuing eligible students at universities and 200,000 students at technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges in 2015, the minister said.

The government scheme would provide loans and bursaries totalling R9.5 billion.

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