South African University Fees in 2024
South Africa currently has more than 20 public universities, each with different tuition fees based on institutional policies, type of study, and duration.
According to the latest ranking of Times Higher Education for 2024, 12 of these universities have taken places among the leading tertiary institutions in the world. The ranking evaluates global performance, focusing on research-intensive universities and covering 1,904 institutions across 108 countries and regions.
It relies on 18 calibrated indicators that measure teaching performance, research environment, research quality, industry connections, and international outlook. The University of Oxford took the top spot for the eighth consecutive year, followed by Stanford University and a notable rise by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in third place.
Domestically, the University of Cape Town leads South African universities, taking the 167th position globally. Stellenbosch University and the University of the Witwatersrand share the 301-350 band in the rankings, with the University of Johannesburg and the University of KwaZulu-Natal rounding out the country’s top five.
For South Africans looking for quality education at an affordable cost, local universities present an attractive option. However, for those with the financial means, popular choices for international study include the USA, the UK, Australia, and Germany, according to education platform Erudera. Studying abroad often has a living cost of more than R200,000 per year, while local institutions often offer a more economical option, covering tuition and accommodation for around half the cost. .
According to data from Old Mutual, the average cost of sending a university graduate in South Africa was R55,900 in 2023. This cost is expected to rise to R95,700 in 2030 and reach R177,200 in 2038 .
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