After struggling through a flat economy in 2019, parents can expect the cost of private education in South Africa to escalate in 2020 – reaching record highs.
The average fee hike among the 20 most expensive schools is around 7%.
And as prices continue to climb, parents are starting to feel the pinch – with financial difficulties cited as one of the key reasons children are leaving private schools.
Private school operators, such as AdvTech, in turn have had to change their operating strategies in this sector, namely a push into mid-market private schooling options.
When BusinessTech first started tracking the most expensive schools in 2014, only one school (Hilton College) was priced over R200,000 for boarding and tuition – now in 2020, over 30 schools have moved into that price bracket.
Hilton, and nearby MichaelHouse, have since pushed into the R300,000 per year bracket.
In the 2019 listing of most expensive schools, 23 boarding schools exceeded R200,000 for the year, while 28 day schools had fees exceeding R100,000 annually.
In the 2020 listing, this has jumped to 31 boarding schools, and 58 day schools, respectively.
These are the 10 most expensive schools in 2020:
Hilton College – R321,890
MichaelHouse – R303,600
St Andrew’s College – R291,000
Roedean School for Girls – R287,558
St John’s College – R284,198
Bishops College – R277,800
Kearsney College – R277,200
St Mary’s Waverly- R272,240
St Andrew’s School for Girls – R265,270
St Alban’s College – R264,900
Boarding schools – boarding and tuition
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 R321,890.
Aside from the prestige, tradition, and beautiful facilities and grounds, the fees generally cover tuition, board, games, ordinary medical attention, the use of the sanatorium, library and laundry. It also includes basic entertainment which is arranged for learners, and transport for sporting and other events.
MichaelHouse is now the only other school to have fees over R300,000 in the country, with its 2020 fees at R303,600. Hilton and MichaelHouse increased fees in-line with other schools at 8% and 7%, respectively.
It must be noted that most schools do not include additional fees in this amount. Additional fees can typically relate to various levies, such as IT and infrastructure, as well as further costs for food, extra mural activities and trips.
Depending on the level of services provided, these fees will push the total amount payable by parents each year much higher.
The fees listed below are as they appear on the various schools’ web pages, and cover board and tuition only. Fees are for the highest level of learning available (up to grade 12). They include only the listed tuition fees, and exclude voluntary or additional fees (where listed). We’ve included the annual increase for schools where we have historic data.
|Hilton||R298 600||R321 890||+8%|
|MichaelHouse||R284 000||R303 600||+7%|
|St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown||R271 965||R291 000||+7%|
|Rodean School for Girls||R270 006||R287 558||+7%|
|St John’s College||R264 735||R284 189||+7%|
|Bishops College||R259 620||R277 800||+7%|
|Kearsney College||R259 600||R277 200||+7%|
|St Mary’s, Waverly||R254 345||R272 240||+7%|
|St Andrew’s School for Girls, Senderwood||R250 220||R265 270||+6%|
|St Alban’s College||R247 650||R264 900||+7%|
|St Stithians||R247 765||R260 320||+5%|
|Kingswood College||R240 735||R258 810||+8%|
|St Mary’s DSG, Pretoria||R236 160||R252 690||+7%|
|Diocesan School for Girls, Grahamstown||R235 890||R252 390||+7%|
|St David’s College||New||R246 680||–|
|Bridge House||R218 950||R237 940||+9%|
|St Martin’s||New||R236 500||–|
|Somerset College||R222 070||R236 500||+6%|
|St Cyprian’s||R218 800||R234 000||+7%|
|St Anne’s Diocesan College||R214 980||R230 040||+7%|
|The Wykeham Collegiate||R212 580||R228 600||+8%|
|St Benedict’s||New||R223 830||–|
|Treverton College||R207 200||R223 780||+8%|
|Crawford College North Coast||R207 830||R220 490||+6%|
|Durban Girls’ College||New||R219 500||–|
|St Charles’ College||New||R213 800||–|
|Uplands College||New||R212 500||–|
|Herschel Girls’ School||R203 670||R210 350||+3%|
|Epworth High School for Girls||R192 339||R206 765||+8%|
|Bishop Bavin School||New||R201 600||–|
|Woodridge College||New||R201 121||–|
Day schools – tuition only
When taking out the boarding options, the list of most expensive schools changes considerably (with MichaelHouse and Hilton removed, as they do not offer day school options).
While R200,000 is the ‘benchmark’ level for expensive tuition and board, when it comes to tuition only, there are many schools that now charge over R100,000 a year.
Kearsney College again ranks as the most expensive day school in the country with an annual tuition fee of just over R190,000, up 7% from 2019.
With this average increase across most schools, there are a large number of new entries into the R100,000-plus per year price range.
|Kearsney College||R178 640||R190 740||+7%|
|St John’s College||R156 836||R167 658||+7%|
|Roedean School for Girls||R152 982||R162 926||+7%|
|Bishops College||R148 240||R158 620||+7%|
|Clifton School, Durban||New||R151 707||–|
|St Mary’s, Waverly||R140 845||R151 470||+8%|
|Crawford College Sandton||R142 790||R151 290||+6%|
|St Alban’s College||R140 850||R150 600||+7%|
|St Stithian’s||R140 550||R150 110||+7%|
|King David High School||New||R149 640||–|
|Redhill School||R139 235||R148 981||+7%|
|St David’s||New||R148 400||–|
|Kingsmead College||R146 045||R147 600||+1%|
|St Andrew’s School for Girls, Senderwood||R135 000||R143 100||+6%|
|Crawford College La Lucia||R134 610||R141 990||+5%|
|St Martin’s||New||R138 000||–|
|St Mary’s DSG, Pretoria||R128 970||R138 000||+7%|
|Kingswood College||R127 305||R136 860||+8%|
|Crawford College Lonehill||R128 160||R136 740||+7%|
|Crawford College Pretoria||R127 150||R134 650||+6%|
|St Peter’s College, Sunninghill||New||R134 424||–|
|Beaulieu College||New||R133 966||–|
|St Benedict’s||New||R132 340||–|
|Sacred Heart||New||R130 898||–|
|St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown||R121 566||R130 074||+7%|
|Brescia House||New||R128 000||–|
|St Cyprian’s||R118 800||R128 000||+8%|
|Herzlia High School||New||R127 092||–|
|Diocesan School for Girls, Grahamstown||R118 190||R126 458||+7%|
|St Anne’s Diocesan College||R117 580||R125 820||+7%|
|Somerset College||R118 160||R125 800||+6%|
|St Charles’ College||New||R125 400||–|
|Woodridge College||R114 363||R123 455||+8%|
|The Wykeham Collegiate||R114 580||R123 200||+8%|
|Bridge House||R113 950||R122 960||+8%|
|Crawford College North Coast||R115 530||R122 650||+6%|
|Durban Girls’ College||New||R120 900||–|
|Heronbridge College||New||R119 280||–|
|Holy Rosary School||New||R118 665||–|
|Michael Mount Waldorf School||New||R116 523||–|
|Oak Hill College||New||R114 002||–|
|Parklands College||New||R111 995||–|
|Uplands College||New||R110 500||–|
|Herschel Girls’ School||R109 000||R110 000||+1%|
|Thomas More College||New||R109 600||–|
|Treverton College||R100 760||R108 820||+8%|
|Oakley House||New||R108 243||–|
|Crawford College Ruimsig||New||R107 710||–|
|Epworth High School for Girls||New||R106 780||–|
|St Henry’s Marist College||New||R106 390||–|
|Bishop Bavin School||New||R106 200||–|
|Trinity House Little Falls||New||R105 840||–|
|Trinity House Randpark Ridge||New||R105 840||–|
|Cedar House||New||R104 570||–|
|Marist Brothers Linmeyer||New||R103 400||–|
|St Dunstan’s College||New||R103 200||–|
|Christian Brothers’ College Boksburg||New||R101 280||–|