Top 10 Cheapest Universities In South Africa (2023)

South Africa has been a home of higher learning since the last century. Not only has the country developed one of the most advanced education systems on the continent, but it also has some of the most prestigious institutions of learning as well. As humanity has advanced, and in the government’s desire to see a South Africa where the people are integrated, leaving nobody behind, the need for education to be available to all people has become even more pronounced.

To that end, South Africa has made the environment viable for education to become relatively affordable compared to the quality that is obtainable, and relative to prices and fees that one would ordinarily pay in other countries. The cheapest universities in South Africa have a good rate of enrollment by the young people of the country, and are a hub of education well sought after by students from other countries, particularly from the continent.

The following are the most affordable universities in South Africa, as well as important information about them that you should know. 

Top 10 Cheapest Universities In South Africa

1. University of Kwazulu Natal

The University of Kwazulu-Natal, UKZN is another great place to study in South Africa. This University is very popular among the Black Community of the Western Region of the country. The school is popularly known as UKZN and was officially formed in 2004, despite tracing its history over 70 years. The school motto is ‘inspiring greatness,’ and this is apt because the school has already acquired the reputation of a great institution of learning. Students consistently attain a pass rate of at least 90% in the CTA exams.    

Fees are as follows: 

UNDERGRADUATE: R24,300 – R53100

MATERS PROGRAM: R39,770-R44,000

DOCTORS: R30,680 – R40,000

2. University Of Free State

The University of the Free State, which has its headquarters in Bloemfontein, South Africa was established in 1904 and currently one of the cheapest universities in South Africa. This University was formerly known as the University College of the Orange Free State. The University has 3 campuses which are the South Campus, Bloemfontein Campus, and lastly the Qwaqwa campus.

The university has a growing reputation as a hub to study Engineering, Accountancy, Agriculture, Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Philosophy, Social Sciences, Medicine, and so on.

Fees are as Follows:



3. Rhodes University 

Rhodes University was established in 1904, although it wasn’t until the year 1951 that University became independent.  Rhodes University is based in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa and is one of the oldest and most historic places of learning in the whole of South Africa. This university started out as a college within the University of South Africa.

The Fees are listed below:

UNDERGRADUATE: R26,590 – R30,705

FOREIGN: R35,700- R37,600

4. NorthWest University

North-West University is an institution with remarkably low tuition compared to the quality of education on offer.  The University has three campuses; Potchefstroom, Vanderbijlpark, and Mahikeng, and you can study for degrees in so many disciplines; including Accounting Sciences, Economic Sciences, Business and Governance, Mathematics, Medicine, Pharmacy, and so on. 

Fees are as follows:

UNDERGRADUATE: R31,100- R47,000

5. University Of Capetown

The University of Cape Town has the distinction of being the oldest and one of the most affordable universities in South Africa. This institution is also one of the most popular in the country as of today. The school was founded in 1829. Depending on what you wish to study, this can be one of the lowest tuition universities in the country, although some courses can be quite expensive to study.

The fees are listed below:

UNDERGRADUATE: R21,500- R43,600

FOREIGN: R75,000


6. University Of Fort Hare

The University of Fort Hare has a long and impressive history. This University was one of the primary places where black people could attain higher education in South Africa between 1916 to 1959. In fact, this University was so important not only in South Africa but throughout the region. As a result, the university suffered greatly during the Apartheid years but has since recovered its prestige. This is a great place to study and feel History, Social Sciences, Education, Law, Agriculture, and Commerce.    

The fees are as follows:

UNDERGRADUATE: R18,629-R44,374

FOREIGN: R26,000-R45,000

POSTGRADUATE: R12,470-R21,600

7. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

This University was founded in the year 2005 and has already won the hearts of students and academics alike. This institution has become known as one of the least expensive places of learning- depending on what course you wish to study. The university admin is located in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth. Aside from the local crowd, this school is quite popular among international students, with a good number of students coming from Europe.

Fees are below:


8. University of Witwatersrand

The University of Witwatersrand belongs to the oldest generation of institutions and also among the cheapest universities in South Africa. This can be called the Grandfathers of schools in SA. The school is also one of the most accomplished in the country; it has a solid reputation for delivering sound, quality education. The University of Witwatersrand is located in Gauteng province, of Johannesburg. 

Fees are listed below:



9. University of Johannesburg

The University of Johannesburg is one of the country’s largest Universities and has 4 campuses all situated in different parts of the city of Johannesburg. Despite being one of the new school universities in South Africa (established in 2005) this University has steadily been growing in fame and acceptance. The school has the vision to serve the country, the continent, and humanity.

Fees are listed below:



10. Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch is an excellent University in South Africa. This is not just a place to earn paper certificates; it is a great place for learning. The first space satellite in Africa was built here. Despite this feat, the University is one of the places of learning with decent fees that are quite affordable.  This University is also based in Cape Town, in the small town of Stellenbosch. This is a great place to study Engineering, Accounting, Social Sciences, and so on.

Fees are listed below:


Non-Africans: R43,839



The decision to study in South Africa could be the best choice you ever made. This is because of the great quality of education on offer in the Country. However, the fees listed above are subject to change at any time. The information supplied above should not be relied upon to make any decisions. Please do further research (consult the institutions directly on their tuition fees) reason is tuition fees can change at any time. The authors of this article will not be held liable for any losses occasioned using the information above.