9 Cheapest Universities in South Africa for International Students.

Cheapest Universities in South Africa for International Students.

Hello reader. In this blogpost, we've compiled a list of the cheapest Universities in South Africa for international Students. However, Tertiary education in developed and developing countries in the world can be expensive in several ways and South Africa is not exempted. 

South Africa can be expensive to study and live in but this has not stopped People from seeking admission to study in the country, especially international Students who have picked interest in getting quality Education at all costs despite the cost of education

South Africa's Tertiary education systems and institutions are amongst the best in the whole Africa and are equally recognized globally in the world University's ranking system.

South African tertiary institutions receive and welcome students not just from the African continent but also from around the globe. Hence their reputation has continued to bloom with the rush for their services and the knowledge and research culture embedded in these institutions.

Students especially the international ones go in search of knowledge and proper education in South Africa from the less expensive institutions, where they would get the same value to a large extent but for fewer fees as compared to the high paying ones.

These students usually enrol in public and government owned Universities which are less expensive to their private counterparts. There are quite a number of affordable universities in South Africa and we would be looking at the best of them in this article.

South Africa continues to grow exponentially as the education choice location on the continent of Africa, with the over 39500 international students enrollment it receives every single academic year, into its public and private tertiary institutions of learning.

Before choosing what school you want to study in South Africa, it is important for you to do your research on the language of instruction of the programme. The country has 10 other official languages and some courses are taught in these other languages apart from English language. 

Cost Of Living in South Africa.


Before you think of heading to South Africa to study you would need to first consider the cost of living in that country, especially for foreigners.

The cost of living in South Africa is not so high can be as low as R5,750 to R14,625 for international students especially, in a month this cost is dependent on your choice of lifestyle it could go higher than this range but to live comfortably basically in South Africa this range would be very sufficient for you in a month.

This cost above would cover your transportation, food, utility, and every other basic need for survival and living.

Students would need to get a rented apartment or stay in the school provided dormitories. The dormitory cost is different from the living cost. You would need between R2,920 to R4,875/month for the dormitories depending on the kind of rooms you choose either single or double.

The students can also decide to rent an apartment which would cost a minimum of R5500 depending on the number of rooms and facilities in it.

After considering the cost of living you would also consider the education tuition fees cost before deciding which university to enrol in as this would help you to make an informed and proper decision on your choice of school.

Tuition Fees for South African Universities.


The Universities in South Africa are divided into two major categories Public universities and private Universities which are known as Colleges.

The good thing about wanting to go to school in South Africa is that the tuition fees are always below $9500 irrespective of what course you’re studying even if you are an international student, who are the ones that pay more in terms of tuition in most schools.

The cost of universities in South Africa is dependent on if they are public universities or private universities.

Public Universities in South Africa


Generally, public universities are less expensive on the whole as compared to private universities.

South Africa has public universities numbering more than 20 with each of these universities having a tuition fee determined effectively based on their individual policies of operation, which include nationality of student, the duration of the study, the course of study etc.

The tuition fees are also determined on what type of degree the student is seeking such as Bachelor’s degree Master’s degree or a PhD.

Hence each school has its own tuition fee structure, which you will do well to find out from the particular school you wish to apply for to study at.

The students would have to also pay additional fees aside from the tuition fees which are mandatory some of these additional fees are optional but advisable in most cases.

Private Universities in South Africa


The private universities have their own system of calculating tuition fees at their schools, they could use a fee per course credit or one fee payment for the entire academic year.

South Africa has over thirty-five private universities. The beauty of these private universities is that many of them specialize in certain disciplines.

Private universities are usually more expensive compared to public universities.

The private universities have additional fees payable by the students some of which include: Fee for Application, fee for technology, fee for an annual payment, sports fee, etc. These fees are different for each private university as each applicable fee to any school is determined by the school policy.

The top 10 private Universities and Colleges in South Africa are:

  • Damelin
  • Varsity College
  • Foundation for Professional Development
  • Monash South Africa
  • Pearson Institute of Higher Education
  • CTU Training Solutions
  • Cornerstone Institute
  • Helderberg College of Higher Education
  • Vega School
  • Qualitas Career Academy

Online Universities in South Africa


Aside from going the traditional route via studying Physically or on-site at universities and colleges in South Africa, some Universities in South Africa have provided the option for International and local Students to take online courses through MOOC. 

MOOC is an online education platform that offers courses in a variety of subjects through providers like Coursera, edX, and FutureLearn.

List of Online Universities in South Africa


Universities in South Africa have chosen to join the online trend and match up with their other counterparts in other countries of the world by providing the alternate online learning Programme for Students. So international and local Students can now obtain degrees online with some South African Universities.

Below is the list of Online Universities in South Africa for International Students:

  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Witwatersrand
  • University of Kwazulu Natal
  • Stellenbosch University
  • University of Johannesburg

#1. University of Cape Town


The University of Cape Town is the oldest university in South Africa and is one of the leading research universities on the continent. It has over 25,000 students and 30% of them are postgraduate students. While the university is a traditional institution and mainly on-campus, it does offer free online programs through the Coursera platform.

Subjects offered: Commerce, Engineering & the Built Environment, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law, and Science

Tuition costs: Free

Rankings: #114 in Best Global Universities and #1 in Best Global Universities in Africa

#2. University of Witwatersrand.


Also referred to as WITS Language School, the University of Witwatersrand recognizes the desire to study online and started offering fully online and accredited short courses. The University prides itself on the fact that it is internationally distinguished for excellent research, high academic standards and commitment to social justice.

Subjects offered: Management and Leadership, People and Communication, Marketing and Sales, Finance, IT and Digital, and Research Management

Tuition costs: From R12,000 to R18,000 ($827 to $1,241) per course

Rankings: #197 in Best Global Universities and #2 in Best Global Universities in Africa

#3. University of Kwazulu Natal


University of Kwazulu Natal is one of the largest, oldest and most transformed universities in sub-Saharan Africa and it’s a teaching and research-led university. The university has been around for nearly 110 years. Being a traditional university and new to the online world, there are a few online options.

Subjects offered: The university offers a number of online courses in Visionary Leadership, Math, and Financial Literacy

Tuition costs: R2,200 to R3,030 ($151 to $209) per course

Rankings: #336 in Best Global Universities and #3 in Best Global Universities in Africa

#4. Stellenbosch University.


Stellenbosch University, a public research institution, is recognized as being a frontrunner in research and academic excellence. There are over 29,000 students.

Subjects offered: There are free online courses through the ClassCentral platform in Sports Coaching, Futurism and Business, and Teaching

Tuition costs: Free

Rankings: Rankings: #341 in Best Global Universities and #4 in Best Global Universities in Africa

#5. University of Johannesburg


Despite being a very new university, UJ prides itself on its accessible excellence. After only 11 years it established itself as an institution of global excellence, offering internationally recognised academic programs. There are 49,500 students.

Subjects offered: Education, Public Health, Public Management, Accounting, Human Resources, Finance, and Logistics

Tuition costs: R180 to R374 ($12 to $26) fer course credit

Rankings: #397 in Best Global Universities and #5 in Best Global Universities in Africa

What are The Cheapest Universities in South Africa?


South Africa has universities whose tuition can be said to be cheap as compared to the tuition paid by students in other universities for the same value.

Some of the South African cheapest universities based on their tuition fees and other related fees are as listed below:

  • University of Kwazulu Natal
  • Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • Northwestern University
  • Rhodes University
  • University of Johannesburg
  • University Of Cape Town
  • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  • University of Venda
  • Durban University of Technology

Let’s look into some of these cheap Universities in South Africa in a little more detail

1. University of Kwazulu Natal


This is one of the cheapest universities in the country offering courses in several areas of endeavour.

The school was founded in the year 2004 as the product of a merger of the University of Natal and the University of Durban Westville. The University of KwaZulu Natal is located in Berea Durban of the KwaZulu Natal province in South Africa.

The school has 5 campuses which it operates in the province. The University offers courses in Engineering, Agriculture, sciences, humanities and 26 other disciplines which the school has continued to effectively expand.

The Tuition fee for the University of Kwazulu Natal ranges from R100 – R500 depending on the course of study for undergraduates.

Address: 238 Mazisi Kunene Rd, Glenwood, Durban, 4041, South Africa

Phone: +27 31 260 1111

2. Cape Peninsula University of Technology


The Cape Peninsula University was founded from a merger in year 2005 January, the merger was between the Cape technikon and Peninsula technikon.

This is the only university of technology in the Western Cape, the university has over 30,000 students local and international.

The university has several campuses and runs over 70 undergraduate academic programmes for its large number of students. The school offers more than 65masters degree programmes.

The Cape Peninsula university offers housing services to its willing students. As the school has accommodation for over 8000 students scattered across the vicinities of the schools’ campuses.

The Tuition fees at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology starts from R1,005 for a session. Note that there are other additional fees aside from the tuition fee.

Call Centre: +27 21 959 6767

Address: CPUT Bellville Campus Technology way Food Science & Technology Building, Bellville South Industrial, Cape Town, 7530, South Africa

3. North Western University of Technology


The North Western University is a renowned research institution that functions as a unitary integrated multi-campus University with 3 campuses.

The university has 8 different faculties and over 72,000 students enrolled and studying in the school.

The University was established in the year 2004 as the product of a merger of the defunct University of North-West and Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education.

The North-Western University of Technology tuition fees are R8240 but the total compulsory first payment for residence students is R18,830 while that of distant non-resident students are R10,260.

WhatsApp line: +27 60 070 2606
SMS-line: 31750


4. Rhodes University


The Rhodes University is one of the oldest universities in the country still operating, the school was established in the year 1904. Rhodes University was established as a public institution and still remains a public university to date it is also a research university.

Rhodes University offers programs in several fields for undergraduate and master’s degree seekers, some of which include: humanities, sciences, Education, Pharmacy, Law, Commerce, etc.

Rhodes University fees are categorised for local and foreign students. International students pay more than what the local students pay.

The tuition fees at Rhodes University starts from R5,000 depending on the program you should sit the school website here

Address: Drosty Rd, Grahamstown, Makhanda, 6139, South Africa

Phone:+27 46 603 8111
Address: PO Box 94 Makhanda 6140 Eastern Cape, South Africa
Phone: +27 46 603 8111

5. University Of Johannesburg


The University of Johannesburg is a multicultural and vibrant university drawing energy from the busy nature of the largest city in South Africa where the school is located at.

The University of Johannesburg, UJ as it is known commonly is a thorough research-based university, that puts research at the forefront of its growth agenda.

The University runs 11 faculties with cutting edge curricula and teaching methods for its students which ensures the current graduation and job success rate of the graduates from the university.

Phone: +27 (0) 11​ 559 4555

Conclusion.


These Universities discussed and listed in South Africa for international students would guarantee you a good education and in most cases with affordable fees that you would not have to break the bank to get a good education in South Africa as an international student.

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