The rising cost of education in South Africa – How to avoid educational debt

by | Jan 30, 2023 | Personal Finance

Education debt, defined as money that a person borrows to pay for their education, usually in the form of student loans is the type of debt used to pay for tuition, fees, books, and other expenses related to attending a college or university. It is generally considered a good investment because a higher education can lead to higher paying jobs and a better standard of living. However, if not managed properly, education debt can become a burden, as it must be repaid with interest. If you are struggling with education debt, it is important to understand your options and to take steps to manage it effectively.

Governing bodies at South African schools are estimating fee hikes between 4% and 6% for 2023. With the state of the South African economy, many parents are faced with the conundrum of whether or not they will be able to afford their children’s education as the year starts. Here are some tips on how to avoid mounting up crippling education debt.


Choose an affordable school:

Research and compare the costs of different schools to find one that fits your budget. Consider in-state public colleges or universities, which tend to be less expensive than private schools.


Apply for financial aid:

Tertiary students can apply for financial aid from the National Students Financial Aid Services. Other students can see if you are eligible for grants, loans, and scholarship from government or non-governmental entities. These forms of financial aid do not have to be repaid.


Get a part-time job:

Working part-time while in school can help offset the cost of tuition and other expenses.


Consider alternative education options:

Consider taking online courses or attending a community college for the first two years before transferring to a four-year institution. TVET colleges are typically less expensive than four-year colleges and universities.


Take out loans only as a last resort:

If you must take out loans to pay for school, try to borrow as little as possible. Keep in mind that you will need to repay the loans with interest, so it’s important to be mindful of how much you borrow.

The financial strain that can result from repaying education debt can be extremely difficult to deal with for some individuals, especially if they have high monthly payments or are struggling to find a job after graduation. This can lead to financial strain, which can in turn affect an individual’s ability to make ends meet, save for the future, or make other major purchases. Education debt can also delay major life events, such as buying a home or starting a family, as individuals may need to prioritize paying off their loans over saving for these goals. Therefore, it is crucial that even in these tough economic times, to try and avoid education debt at all costs.

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