How much it costs to send your child to school in South Africa

New research conducted by AlphaWealth, an investment and wealth planning services company, has identified the cost of sending a child to school in South Africa.

According to Chris Pretorius, a wealth manager at AlphaWealth, a top rate education in South Africa will cost between R1 million and R7.7 million, depending on whether your child gets a quality government education or South Africa’s equivalent of Ivy League education.

“The numbers are truly shocking given that these numbers exclude things like food, extra lessons, text books, clothes, sports equipment, medical expenses, holidays, a car when s/he turns 18,” AlphaWealth said.

It pointed out that the amounts only take into consideration the actual school fees, not even the acceptance fee that most private schools charge. It also excludes tertiary education.

Pretorius said he considered three different categories. That both private school options assume that your “little Scrunch” will go to pre-primary school (a junior college owned by Advtech) aged three and will then go to grade R at the respective schools.

The government school option only assumes that your child starting in grade R.

The first category is called Ivy League education which assumes your child goes to junior college and then Pridwin College before making his way to Michaelhouse or Hilton College, AlphaWealth said.

The second category is termed first class education which included junior college before attending St. Johns, St. Stithians, St. Davids or Bishops.

Lastly, premium education includes King Edwards or Grey Bloemfontein but only at grade R.

The table below shows what you can expect to pay for a new baby’s education.

This is the value of all fees that you will pay in the future assuming 10% annual school price inflation.

Ivy League Education First Class Education Premium Education
Future value of all fees R7 738 803 R4 114 117 R1 072 104
Lump sum required R1 361 604 R808 290 R198 777
Annual contributions required R210 533 R124 979 R30 735

The table below shows the lump sum required at the birth of your baby or the annual required contribution.

The amounts below do not make provision for tax and hence the amounts need to be escalated by at least capital gains tax.

Ivy League Education First Class Education Premium Education
Lump sum required R1 057 966 R641 998 R155 567
Annual contributions required R185 566 R112 606 R27 286

“Planning for your little ones schooling is not a cheap exercise as the tables show. This means that you cannot afford to invest cautiously, the numbers force you to take risk and the assumption that you will generate long term stock market returns.”

“If you do not invest as aggressively as possible the amount of savings or lump sum investment will increase significantly,” Pretorius said.

For the purposes of the above analysis, Pretorius made the following assumptions:

  • All private school options make use of junior college from grade 000 till grade R and 0, and then make use of the respective schools grade R classes if available if not then grade R is also at junior college. The government school option: your child only starts school at grade R.
  • Pridwin College is used as the primary school for Michaelhouse and Hilton which do not have a pre-primary.
  • School price inflation is 10%.
  • Inflation is 6%.
  • All of your money is invested in the stock market and the historical average real return of 8% applies to your funds.
  • No provision for sequence risk.
  • Taxes have not been accounted for.
  • Pretorius averaged the fees for St. Stithians, St. Davids, St. Johns and Bishops which all offer top rate education.
  • Pretorius averaged the fees of Pridwin, Michaelhouse and Hilton College which offer Ivy League education.
  • Pretorius averaged the fees of King Edward and Grey Bloemfontein which offer premium education.

More on schools in South Africa

Private vs public schools: is it worth the money?

Most expensive schools in South Africa

Top SA universities: how much they cost


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How much it costs to send your child to school in South Africa