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Although many of our top performing private colleges offer the same qualifications as public universities (degrees) they are not allowed to call themselves Private Universities. Qualifications from both are registered and accredited according to SA legal requirements.

Things have moved on significantly from the days when the only credible qualification was a 3-year degree from a public university. Parents, schools and teachers should assist learners in their process of identifying everything offered on the higher educational buffet – including options in the private sector – before making one of the most important decisions they will ever make.

Private higher education is becoming the study route of choice for an increasing number of young South Africans, in line with international trends.

 This is because the public is becoming more educated about their options, with people increasingly understanding that public universities and private institutions are subject to the same oversight and regulation, which means that qualifications are of the same standing, regardless of whether they are achieved at a state-funded university or one of South Africa’s 120 private institutions (popularly referred to as private universities).

Private higher education institutions offer degree level qualifications in such diverse fields as professional accounting, business management, communication and law, education and computer science, as well as several exciting niche qualifications such as branding or game development at degree level. SA’s private institutions produce tens of thousands of top graduates each year, all the way to doctoral level.

The reasons for students opting to pursue their degree dreams at private institutions include the strong work-focus and support beyond academics, which make these graduates particularly popular among the top employers that seek them out because of their ability to make a meaningful contribution in the workplace from Day One.

Additionally, quality institutions offer smaller and more modern campuses, flexible and current curricula, innovative teaching and learning models, substantial student support, the whole student life experience and a strong focus on the individual that is rarely found in public universities.


  • Not needing to relocate to a new city is easier on the pocket and a student can tackle varsity with their support system around them.
  • With smaller campuses and classes, access to support and staff is vastly improved, as is interaction with fellow students.
  • Because a large percentage of lecturers are not only academics but actively working in their industries, students get up close and personal with the real world of work and opportunities while still studying.
  • As private higher education institutions receive no state subsidies, they are reliant on student fees, which means that students are treated as valued customers, and generally receive good service. Additionally, if they do not offer value for money and a credible, quality educational offering, they face having to close their doors.
  • Many private institutions offer niche qualifications that are not available elsewhere and equip students for emerging careers such as game development.


For more comprehensive information and contact details of South African private higher learning institutions visit The Independent Institute of Education at, or contact its respected brands – Vega, Varsity College, Rosebank College and The Business School at Varsity College – directly.

Source: The Complete South African Careers Guide



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