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6 schools in South Africa charge over R300,000 a year

Private schools in South Africa have hiked fees for 2022, with many aiming to recover losses from a fee-freeze in 2021, to help parents cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hilton College in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands retains its title as the most expensive school in the country, with its annual fees (which only allows for boarding) at R343,155 – up 3.5% from last year.

When BusinessTech first began to track the most expensive schools in 2014, Hilton College was the only school priced over R200,000 for boarding and tuition. In 2022, all schools tracked have breached that figure.

In 2021, three elite schools exceeded R300,000 for tuition and boarding, and a year later, this has doubled to six with Rodean School for Girls, St John’s College and Kearsney College joining Hilton, MichaelHouse and St Andrew’s College Grahamstown in that bracket.

The latest school listing is also notable for the first-day school to breach the R200,000 mark, with Kearsney college now charging R209,000 per annum for a grade 12-day scholar. Day school fees are also slowly escalating across the board, with at least 40 other schools now priced over R120,000 a year (or R10,000 a month).

Some schools which kept fees unchanged in 2021 to help parents manage finances during the Covid-19 pandemic have now pushed fees up to compensate, which has resulted in some increases above 7%.

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Recent data from TPN Credit Bureau shows that private schools in South Africa have been heavily impacted by the financial pressures of the Covid pandemic on parents in the country.

As parents have prioritised paying other categories of consumer credit – such as mortgages or rent, credit facilities, secured credit and even unsecured credit – school fees have fallen by the wayside in many cases.

And while government schools give parents the option to apply for partial or full exemption from paying fees, private schools do not have this luxury and ultimately end up terminating contracts over non-payment.

This has left private schools in a precarious position, unable to meet operational costs and other financial commitments, TPN said. As a result, the credit bureau said that only 26% of private schools managed their budgets on fees collected in the last year, while 9% were forced to use their reserves to cover expenses.

The group said that as many as 65% of private schools have been forced to make budget cuts since the onset of the pandemic.

Note: The fees listed below are as they appear on the various schools’ web pages, and cover board and/or tuition only. Fees are for the highest level of learning available (up to grade 12). They include only the listed tuition fees/boarding fees and exclude voluntary or additional fees (where listed), and pre-payment discounts where indicated by the schools. We’ve included the annual increase for schools where we have historic data. Lists are not comprehensive as some schools have not publicly published 2022 fee schedules.

Boarding schools

School Location 2021 2022 Change
Hilton Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal R331 550 R343 155 3.5%
MichaelHouse Balgowan, KwaZulu-Natal R312 400 R328 000 5.0%
St Andrew’s College Makhanda, Eastern Cape R305 550 R320 064 4.8%
Roedean School for Girls Johannesburg, Gauteng R296 184 R310 994 5.0%
St John’s College Johannesburg, Gauteng R291 862 R304 995 4.5%
Kearsney College Botha’s Hill, KwaZulu-Natal R289 630 R303 710 4.9%
St Mary’s Johannesburg, Gauteng R280 400 R293 050 4.5%
Bishops College Cape Town, Western Cape R277 800 R289 700 4.3%
St Alban’s College Pretoria, Gauteng R272 850 R287 850 5.5%
St Andrew’s School for Girls, Senderwood Johannesburg, Gauteng R270 575 R287 850 6.4%
St Stithians Johannesburg, Gauteng R260 320 R277 830 6.7%
Diocesan School for Girls Makhanda, Eastern Cape R265 020 R276 930 4.5%
Kingswood College Makhanda, Eastern Cape R271 770 R276 250 1.6%
St Cyprian’s Cape Town, Western Cape R251 200 R264 300 5.2%
St David’s Marist Inanda Johannesburg, Gauteng R249 320 R259 100 3.9%
St Anne’s Diocesan College Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal R240 400 R252 420 5.0%
St Martin’s College Johannesburg, Gauteng R249 210 R249 210 0.0%
Bridge House Franschhoek, Western Cape R234 390 R248 700 6.1%
Somerset College Stellenbosch, Western Cape R236 500 R248 300 5.0%
Crawford College North Coast Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal R233 050 R248 020 6.4%
St Benedict’s College Johannesburg, Gauteng R229 670 R240 320 4.6%
Herschel Girls School Cape Town, Western Cape R224 090 R237 700 6.1%
Durban Girls’ College Durban, KwaZulu-Natal R223 900 R237 000 5.9%
Treverton College Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal R223 780 R234 960 5.0%
Uplands College White River, Mpumalanga R221 000 R232 000 5.0%
St Charles College Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal R213 800 R230 100 7.6%
Epworth High School for Girls Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal R215 035 R224 727 4.5%
Woodridge College Thornhill, Eastern Cape R210 172 R222 793 6.0%

Day schools

School Location 2021 2022 Change
Kearsney College Botha’s Hill, KwaZulu-Natal R199 320 R209 000 4.9%
St John’s College Johannesburg, Gauteng R172 185 R179 933 4.5%
Roedean School for Girls Johannesburg, Gauteng R167 814 R176 204 5.0%
Bishops College Cape Town, Western Cape R158 620 R170 520 7.5%
Clifton School Durban, KwaZulu-Natal R167 798
Crawford College Sandton Johannesburg, Gauteng R153 710 R164 470 7.0%
St Alban’s College Johannesburg, Gauteng R155 100 R163 650 5.5%
St Mary’s, Waverly Johannesburg, Gauteng R156 000 R163 550 4.8%
St Stithians Johannesburg, Gauteng R150 110 R162 110 8.0%
Cedarwood School Johannesburg, Gauteng R155 591 R160 259 3.0%
King David High School Johannesburg, Gauteng R151 890 R160 200 5.5%
Kingsmead College Johannesburg, Gauteng R151 290 R158 478 4.8%
Redhill School Johannesburg, Gauteng R148 981 R155 000 4.0%
Crawford College La Lucia Durban, KwaZulu-Natal R145 830 R153 850 5.5%
St David’s Marist Inanda Johannesburg, Gauteng R147 420 R153 800 4.3%
Crawford College Lonehill Johannesburg, Gauteng R139 650 R150 120 7.5%
SAHETI Johannesburg, Gauteng R141 956 R149 054 5.0%
Beaulieu College Johannesburg, Gauteng R133 966 R147 363 10.0%
Crawford College Pretoria Tshwane, Gauteng R138 320 R147 310 6.5%
St Martins College Johannesburg, Gauteng R144 210 R144 210 0.0%
Kingswood College Makhanda, Eastern Cape R143 715 R143 715 0.0%
St Andrew’s College Makhanda, Eastern Cape R136 578 R143 064 4.7%
St Cyprian’s Cape Town, Western Cape R134 300 R141 500 5.4%
Brescia House Johannesburg, Gauteng R132 320 R139 200 5.2%
Diocesan School for Girls Makhanda, Eastern Cape R132 779 R138 758 4.5%
St Anne’s Diocesan College Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal R131 500 R138 080 5.0%
Herzlia High School Cape Town, Western Cape R131 544 R137 460 4.5%
St Benedict’s College Johannesburg, Gauteng R132 340 R136 670 3.3%
Woodridge College Thornhill, Eastern Cape R129 011 R136 107 5.5%
St Charles College Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal R125 400 R135 000 7.7%
St Peter’s College, Sunninghill Johannesburg, Gauteng R133 058 R134 366 1.0%
Bridge House Franschhoek, Western Cape R126 310 R134 140 6.2%
Crawford College North Coast Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal R125 310 R132 200 5.5%
Somerset College Stellenbosch, Western Cape R125 800 R132 100 5.0%
Sacred Heart College Johannesburg, Gauteng R130 898 R130 898 0.0%
Durban Girls’ College Durban, KwaZulu-Natal R123 300 R130 500 5.8%
Holy Rosary School Johannesburg, Gauteng R120 980 R127 860 5.7%
Herschel Girls’ School Cape Town, Western Cape R118 730 R127 100 7.0%
Michael Mount Waldorf School Johannesburg, Gauteng R116 523 R123 519 6.0%
Uplands College White River, Mpumalanga R115 000 R121 000 5.2%
Oak Hill College Knysna, Eastern Cape R114 002 R120 808 6.0%

Read: 19 new subjects implemented in South Africa’s schools

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