The rising cost of education in South Africa

The rising cost of education in South Africa


It is often said that an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Receiving a good basic education is a human right but many are unable to afford proper schooling. Recent figures released by Stats SA indicate that South African households will have to make more room in their budgets to pay for rising tuition fees.

The recent increases in fees are not adequately cushioned by household income and as such, many South Africans are unable to further their own or their loved one’s education. The #feesmustfall movement brought to light the national problem of students not being able to afford the increases at Universities across South Africa. One example of an increase in tuition fees is the cost of a BA degree at Stellenbosch University that has increased by 30% between 2006 and 2015.

However, this dilemma is not a uniquely South African problem. In the last three years, students have publicly protested against fee increases in Australia, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Academics across the globe, have also lamented the lack of government support and the associated rise in student fees. Over the same period, the high tuition fees of countries as diverse as Finland, Thailand, Poland, New Zealand and Turkey have been under the spotlight too. The rising cost of higher education is clearly a global phenomenon.

What is causing the increase in education costs you might ask?

A University World News article, focussing on higher education, attributes rising costs to a number of factors such as:

  • Higher education institutions raise their fees on the back of rising maintenance costs
  • Higher enrolment rates
  • The rand-dollar exchange rate has also increased the cost of imported books and materials
  • Increase in academic and administrative salaries
  • The rise in the costs of municipal services, including electricity, water and the cost of powering laboratories
  • Increase in libraries and other teaching and learning amenities
  • In addition, South African universities have a historic debt – money owed as a result of student shortfalls in tuition fees, year-on-year

However, the cost of higher education can be kept low in South Africa if universities can cut costs, contain wastage and operate efficiently. Rethinking modes of delivery such as distance education and online education could also help.

Education is incredibly important as it not only enables individuals to earn and live well but also aids the economy by increasing the country’s value of human capital, natural capital and skilled workforce, allowing countries to compete and succeed economically and combat poverty in the long run.

At Iemas we understand the importance of having access to higher education, that is why we developed the GradUcare educational loan.
Invest in your or your loved one’s future by applying for a GradUcare educational loan today:
Call 0861 043 627 | SMS ‘GradUcare’ to 32297 (R1/SMS) | email graducare@iemas.co.za

Read other related articles here: Iemas offers affordable financing solutions to assist matric graduates in building a bright future

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