Cape Town 140109. Thumeka Tsitsa (right) from Gugulethu speaks about the costs she will be paying for her daughter Unam Tsitsa at the University of Cape Town. Picture Cindy waxa.Reporter Zodidi/Argus
Cape Town 140109. Thumeka Tsitsa (right) from Gugulethu speaks about the costs she will be paying for her daughter Unam Tsitsa at the University of Cape Town. Picture Cindy waxa.Reporter Zodidi/Argus

Varsity fees a big budget buster

By Zodidi Dano Time of article published Jan 12, 2015

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Cape Town - Now that their children’s schooling is over, parents are faced with the challenge of raising the cash for tertiary education.

Gugulethu nurse and single mother Thumeka Tsitsa said she had long ago planned for the university education of her daughter, Unam Tsetse.

Unam matriculated with a bachelor pass and has been accepted at UCT to study BA Social Science, majoring in drama.

“When Unam was 2 I decided to open an education policy to help me with her further education. At that time already I knew that I might not have a large sum to pay fees in one go.”

Unam’s course fees for this year will be R46 000 and her residence plus catering will be another R25 000.

By June this year, Tsitsa has to ensure that she has paid R21 500.

Tsitsa said when she calculated Unam’s fees she realised that the money she had saved would not cover all the fees.

“We applied for a National Student Financial Aid Scheme loan to help meet us halfway.”

The NSFAS will cover most of Unam’s tuition and residence fees, but her mother believes she will have to pay about R15 000.


The textbook list has not yet been sent to Tsitsa, but the family are sure that they can buy books at a second-hand bookshop.

Tsitsa expects to pay around R3 000 a month on Unam’s education, and will also give her a monthly allowance of R500 - which her daughter feels is too little.

“She could at least make it a R1 000 a month,” Unam jokes.

Tsitsa advised other parents to invest in education policies to secure their children’s future.

“Have an education policy and save money in such a way that you cannot touch it.”

Meanwhile, Paarl father Jacques Fredericks said this year he had to raise up to R90 000 for his son Stephen’s tuition, should Stephen not get a bursary.

Stephen matriculated with five distinctions from Paarl Boys High, and has been accepted to study towards a BCom in financial accountancy at Stellenbosch University.

Fredericks, a financial adviser married to a woman who works in the municipality, said this year he and his family needed to keep to a tight budget.

“My son’s tuition will cost R32 000, his residence another R30 000 and we have not yet included textbooks, food and an allowance.”

Fredericks has another son at high school whose fees are R24 000 a year.

“We knew we had to tighten our budget for Stephen and we are praying that he gets a bursary to help lighten the financial burden.”

So far Fredericks has put aside R10 000 for residence, R10 000 for registration fees and another R10 000 for textbooks and to keep his son in the first term.

“We are hoping for a 100 percent bursary as we still need to worry about our household expenses.”

Fredericks expected to spend between R20 000 and R25 000 on Stephen’s education.

“I can’t emphasise this strongly enough: parents should invest in education policies to prepare themselves for their children’s future.”

Breakdown of first-year fees

First-year tuition fees at the Western Cape’s four major tertiary institutions will range between about R12 000 and R64 500 this year.

The parents of first-year UCT students can expect to pay between R43 000 and R64 500.

UCT fees are all-inclusive, which means the university does not charge additional fees for items or services such as transport/fieldwork costs, internet or wi-fi access, notes, levies, laboratory fees, PC lab access fees and cost of instruments.

The MBChB - medical degree - is the most expensive programme of study for first years at R64 500, while a BA and Bachelor of Social Science will cost about R45 600.

At the University of the Western Cape, first-year programmes for a BA, BEd and BCom will cost about R25 000 and a Bachelor of Dental Surgery about R45 700.

Fees for on-campus residences range between about R14 000 and R22 000.

At Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the average cost of first-year tuition fees has increased from R25 000 last year to R27 500 this year.

The cost of staying in residence will range between about R23 400 and R27 800.

At Stellenbosch University, parents will pay around R32 000 for a first-year BA programme and around R51 000 for a medical degree.

Residence fees for a double room are about R29 200 in a women’s residence and about R29 800 in a men’s residence.

All four universities offer financial aid for students who qualify.

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Cape Argus

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