SA’s most expensive school is R140K more costly than a year of undergraduate tuition at Wits

The most expensive private day school in South Africa, based on Grade 12 tuition fees alone, and excluding acceptance and application fees costs just under R200,000 for the year. 

The honour of the most costly day school in the country resides with Kearsney College in Botha’s Hill, a small town located between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal.

It increased its fees by R8,580, or 4.5%, this year in order to retain the top spot with annual fees of R199,320, reports businesstech.

Tack on the school’s mandatory R780 application fee and the R31,250 acceptance charge, the total price of admission for 2021 is a whopping R230 570.


By way of comparison, a year of undergraduate tertiary tuition in commerce, law, or engineering at an institution like the University of the Witwatersrand typically costs between R40,000 and R60,000.

The nearest rival to Kearsney College is St John’s College in Houghton, Johannesburg which increased its fees by 2.7% to reach a 2021 total of R172,185 – a total that excludes additional fees amounting to just over R10,000 for the year.

Roedean School in Parktown Johannesburg comes in at number three with fees in the R160 000 range, and the majority of elite private schools now appear to be looking at a sweet spot of fees around the R150,000 mark.

The publication says it is important to note, however, that some of the basic tuition fees published by schools exclude many additional expenses, levies, non-refundable deposits, and mandatory costs, while others incorporate them into their schedule of fees, which makes direct comparison difficult.

Lower than usual increases

In spite of 2020 being a particularly tough schooling and financial year for most, many private schools in South Africa chose to increase their fees, in some cases significantly.

None, however, were brave enough to break the 6% increase mark – which between 2019 and 2020, was roughly the minimum increase for all schools in this price bracket.

Durban’s Clifton High School had the biggest increase this year – it jumped up to fourth position in the ranking with its 5.5%, or R8,308, increase from 2020.

Kearsney College’s increase of 4.5% is close behind as far as an annual jump goes. 

Roedean School, St Mary’s School, and St Alban’s College all registered 3% increases for 2021, less than half of their increases in 2020, while fees for St John’s College increased by 2.7% – off a 6.9% increase the previous year.

Just two schools from last year’s top ten, Bishops Diocesan College and St Stithians College, chose not to increase fees for 2021 – a decision that saw the latter drop down several places.

This is significant, given that between 2019-2020, Bishops increased its fees by 7%, and St Stithians by 9.86%.

How the most expensive day schools in South Africa compare:

The most expensive day schools in South Africa.


Presh JM Reporter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *