How much does it cost you to register at a South African university?

15 January 2016 - 11:05 By Ashleigh Furlong, GroundUp
THE ROAD AHEAD: UCT students during last week's #FeesMustFall protests
THE ROAD AHEAD: UCT students during last week's #FeesMustFall protests

Nationwide demonstrations at universities look set to begin again following protests today at the University of Johannesburg, Wits and Unisa, as the registration period began.

This week's demands focussed on registration and upfront payments that students are required to pay before being able to begin classes. These upfront payments range from zero to over R20,000.

So what do students have to pay at registration?



UCT requires the largest upfront payment of the universities surveyed, with South African students having to fork out R21,500 for tuition (or their full fees if they are lower than this figure) by 5 February. Non-South African students, who do not have permanent residence but pay local fees such as students from a SADC country, must pay an additional R3,275 admin fee.  

Students at the Graduate School of Business, the School for Legal Practice as well as all international students, have a different upfront payment structure depending on their course.

If a student has applied for a student loan from the bank the initial payment deadline is extended until 31 March and if the student has an external bursary or scholarship they may deduct one half of the annual award from the initial payment.

Students on the National Student FInancial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) do not need to pay the initial upfront payment but must pay their “expected family contribution” before the end of June.

The initial payment for catering residences is R 25,500 and for non-catering residences it is R16,500. Again, non-South African students who pay local fees have to pay an additional R3,275 as an admin fee.

The balance of all fees must be paid by 30 June.



Students who stay off campus have to make an initial payment of R4,290 at registration and those who stay in university residences need to pay R4,840. Both categories of students must also pay an additional R1,210 registration deposit.

International students are required to pay all their fees (registration, tuition and residence fees) at registration.

NSFAS eligible students do not have to pay registration and upfront fees.

The balance of all fees must be paid on or before 31 July.



Students at CPUT have an upfront payment of R3,500 for tuition and R1,500 for residence but if a student is unable to pay this they will still be allowed to register without the payment.

Fees can be paid from February to November in monthly instalments of 10% for full year courses and from February to June in monthly instalments of 20% for semester courses.



The initial payment for students is R9,340 but if a student is unable to afford this they can apply for a waiver until 31 March.

Full tuition fees must be paid by the end of March and full residence fees must be paid by the end of July.

Students who have a bursary, scholarship or NSFAS funding do not need to make the first payment.

International students must pay the full amount before registration.

University of Johannesburg


Students at UJ who do not reside in residences need to pay R3,870 at registration and students in residence need to pay an additional R2,600.

In addition, students new to residence need to pay R1,220 as a deposit. All students also pay a registration fee of R610 and a R430 Information and Communications Technology levy.

International students are also subject to additional levies.

By 15 August all tuition and residence fees must be paid, with different dates applying to first semester courses and international students.

Students receiving bursaries and scholarships must still make the additional payments unless they have a bursary larger than the tuition and residence fees.



The initial payment for full year modules at UNISA is R 1,340.00. Depending on circumstances, this is either due by 30 January or 29 February.

The full amount needs to be paid by 15 August.