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CAPE TOWN - Escalating university fees are among some of the costly expenses that South Africans are faced with. With the country experiencing a depressed economy, take a look at the added burden that university fees can bring. 

Education is a basic human right of every individual. However, this basic human right comes at a cost. 

Tertiary education can leave a deepening hole in parent’s pockets. Of notable concern is the sharp increases in education inflation. 

While general inflation currently stands at 6%, school-price inflation lies between 9 and 10%. 

Take a look at the cost of a university qualification:

A three-year BCom degree from the University of Pretoria in 2015 cost up to R110 770. First year stream costs around R36 000, second year R33 000 and the final year at R31 000. 

In 2017, however, the cost of a BCom degree saw a huge spike which ranged from R39 000 to R45 000 for the first year of study only. 

Living expenses are an additional concern. 

At the University of Pretoria for instance, residence accommodation starts with a reservation fee of R5 700. Thereafter, you can choose a single room which costs approximately R34 200 per annum. To save on cost and have a more modest room, students can choose to share a room which costs R31 700. 

READ: Why can these countries offer free tertiary education?

Meals at Tuks can cost a minimum of R28 800 per annum which includes three meals a day. 

Despite the excessive education cost, there is a way that parents can manage and cover the costs. 

How to cover the costs

Considering high school and tertiary education increases by approximately 4% annually above the rate of inflation, parents should gear up and save as soon as their child is born. 

Parents can add their annual bonus into a Retirement Annuity fund or capitalise on their saving plan by putting away tax returns each year. 

Regardless of the education plan, parents should note that it is better to start saving sooner rather than later. 

For those parents who were for some reason unable to save for their child’s education, there are other options. 

Parents can secure a personal or study loan for their child at a trusted investment group. 

Meanwhile, according to a report released by Statistics South Africa showed that university graduation numbers are on the rise. 

The report also notes that students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, studying at the country’s 26 higher education institutions is on the increase. 

This is partly attributed to government support through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). 

The number of students graduating from local public universities had risen from 165 995 in 2012 to 203 078 in 2016.

READ ALSO: University graduation numbers are on the rise - StatsSA

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE