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Study in South Africa for International Student: Cheapest Universities Tuition Fees and Living Costs in South Africa


Are you a student seeking a place or country to study in Africa, with the best research facilities and equipment as well then you should consider a study in South Africa for all international students. South Africa is the economic pivot for all African continents allowing students to have all sorts of exciting social and academic opportunities just outside their place. Plus, South African institutions consistently make up the majority of all those “best universities in Africa” lists. South African universities rankings run the show! So, you can be sure of a top-tier education while studying in South Africa.Study in South Africa

Brief Rundown about South Africa

Yes the country is officially known as the Republic of South Africa (RSA), South Africa is the southernmost country on the African continent.

South Africa has a temperate climate, and is surrounded by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. More than 45,000 international students choose to study in South Africa each academic year.

The country covers 1.2 million square kilometres, making it the 25th largest country in the world and home to almost 58 million people.

Since the end of Apartheid in 1994, South Africa has worked hard to become an ethnically diverse country with some of the oldest archaeological and human-fossil sites in the world.

According to world university ranking. there are 4 South African universities in the 2022 QS Rankings  out of the top 500. The highest ranked of these is the University of Cape Town, which is placed at 226th with University of Witwatersrand, which is placed at 424th, and Stellenbosch University, which is placed at 434th.

There are 26 public universities, and 42 private universities. Public universities are split into three distinct types.

The Republic of South Africa has 11 different official names, one in each of its official languages which includes Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, and Swazi, as well as 7 others.

The country have higher education institutions that have been improving with increasingly high standards for higher education systems.

Taking up a Study in South Africa (Study in South Africa for International Student)

South Africa or officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), has a multi-ethnic population with eleven national languages and endless natural landscapes with unique wildlife.

The country has not one, but three capital cities: executive Pretoria, judicial Bloemfontein and legislative Cape Town, while the largest city is Johannesburg.

It shares borders with Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and two independent countries, Lesotho and Swaziland.

The country is a country with attractive trade and business meeting point. If you are interested in business or trade studies, you have already found your next study destination.

Finally, if you choose to study in South Africa then you will be able to visit the country’s most famous sights like Drakensberg Mountains, the Kruger National Park, the Garden Route, the Cradle of Mankind or Robben Island.

List of Cheapest Universities in South Africa

Here is a list of Cheapest Universities in South Africa:

  • North-West University
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Fort Hare
  • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  • University of Kwazulu Natal
  • University of Free State
  • Rhodes University
  • University of Witwatersrand
  • Stellenbosch University
  • University of Johannesburg
  • University of Limpopo
  • The University of Venda
  • University of Pretoria
  • The University of the Western Cape
  • University of Zululand

Cost of living in South Africa (Study in South Africa for International Student)

South Africa universities have highly-rated teachers and the cost of living and education in South Africa is affordable courtesy of the low exchange rate.

According to the Low Tuition Universities, the undergraduate programs in South Africa will cost you $2,500-$4,500, postgraduate programs will cost you about $2,700-$3000.

The cost of living in South Africa is also relatively cheap. You can survive in South Africa even if you have as much as $400 in your pocket.

South Africa has great colleges and universities that are doing their best to obtain the higher education requirements of students worldwide who want to study in English.

General Tuition Fee in South Africa

Although there are free and low tuition universities in south Africa. However, Tuition fee for undergraduate programs in South Africa is about $2500-$4500 while for postgraduate programs it could cost about $2700-$3000.

Application procedures 

The following steps should be should be followed:

  • Applicants should visit the web portal of the university they have chosen and make a request for an online application form.
  • Applicants should fill the form with the right the information and upload the necessary documents
  • Once done with the form, applicants should send it to the admission department of the university or send it to the address stated on the form
  • Once the applicants’ form has been considered he or she will be sent an offer by airmail or Email

Visas (Study in South Africa for International Student)

You can only apply for a student visa once you have received a conditional offer from a South African institution.

  • A passport, its valid until date must be at least 30 days after the end of your degree
  • 2 additional passport photos
  • An official letter of acceptance from your university
  • A clear criminal background check
  • Your flight details, including those of your return flight at the end of your degree
  • Proof of sufficient finances for tuition fees, living costs, and health insurance
  • Payment for your visa


South Africa has 11 official languages. It also has 8 other recognized regional languages.The most common languages used for teaching are English and Afrikaans.

If your study language is not your native or first spoken language, you will need to provide evidence of your proficiency.

Postgraduate courses and specialist degrees will generally have higher language requirements. If you do not meet the required standards, it is common for institutions to offer language courses to help you improve.

If your native language is not one of the 19 official and recognised languages, you should make the most of your opportunity to learn another language as you study.

Courses available in most South African schools (Study in South Africa for International Student)

Industrial Design, Architecture.

Fashion Design, Graphic Design.

Interior Design, Jewellery Design and Manufacture.

Multimedia, Visual Art, Business and Economics.

Education, Engineering.

Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering.

Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering Science.

Civil Engineering Technology, Construction Management and Quantity Surveying.

Electrical and Electronic Engineering Science.

Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technology.

Metallurgy, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Technology.

Mechanical Engineering Science, Mine Surveying.

Mining Engineering, Quality and Operations Management.

Town and Regional Planning, Laser Research.

Water and Health Research, Biomedical Technology.

Chiropractic, Emergency Medical Care.

Environmental Health, Homeopathy.

Human Anatomy and Physiology.

Medical Imaging and Radiation (Radiography).

Nursing, Optometry, Podiatry.

Sport and Movement Studies, Law.

Nanotechnology, Energy and sustainable Development.

Eco-toxicology, Economic Geo-metallurgy.

Computer Science and Software Engineering.

Applied Chemistry, Applied Physics and Engineering Mathematics.

Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Food Technology.

Botany and Plant Biotechnology, Chemistry.

Geography, Environmental Management & Energy Studies.

Geology, Physics, Pure and Applied Mathematics, Statistics and Zoology.

South African student permit Requirements

To successfully submit an application, students over 18 must provide:

  • An eligible machine-readable passport that will remain valid for at least 30 days after the intended date of departure from South Africa
  • An application form completed in all of its parts with accurate information
  • Travel information such as the itinerary and address(es) at which the applicant will reside while in South Africa
  • Proof of sufficient funds to support the learner while in South Africa
  • Should a third party take financial responsibility for the foreign student, copies of the ID of such third party
  • Relevant vaccination certificates, medical records, and radiology reports (if applicable)
  • Proof of medical insurance coverage for the entirety of the studies
  • Police clearance certificates (where applicable)
  • An official letter from the educational institution in South Africa confirming that the traveller has been offered a placement to study
  • Other relevant supporting documents (these will depend on a case-by-case basis)
  • Visa processing fees

Ways to Obtain Student Visa for South Africa (Study in South Africa for International Student)

Below are steps steps that can help you obtain the student visa, However

You are expected to submit the following documents;

  • Medical and radiological reports from within last six month.
  • Information about where you will be living in South Africa.
  • A passport valid for at least 30 days after the end of your course, with two consecutive, clear pages left for entry and departure stamps.
  • Payment for the South African student visa application.
  • Two colour passport-sized photographs.
  • An official letter from the South African educational institution confirming the duration of your course, plus confirmation that it will inform the authorities if you fail to register.
  • Proof of necessary finances to cover tuition fees and living costs for the duration of your stay.
  • Certificate of medical aid cover or health insurance recognized by the South African authorities, plus a letter confirming that it will be renewed every year for the duration of your stay.
  • A yellow fever vaccination certificate.
  • A police clearance certificate for every country you’ve lived in for more than 12 months since the age of 18.
  • Birth certificates of dependent children.
  • Relevant certificates if married, widowed, divorced.

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