By Laurianne Lingbondo

As much as the #Feesmustfall campaign has sparked a national debate about the effect of fees on the poor South African citizen, there’s a small bunch of people that fee increments affect even more and those are international students.

It is no secret that international students are required to pay more (during registration) than the average South African. At the University of Johannesburg its 30% of the fees during Registration compared to the 3% by South African citizen students, at other Universities it is even worse, for example at The University of Cape Town international students are required to pay all their school fees upfront, this being the same University that is notorious for its high fee rate.

Being an International student also immediately disqualifies you from getting a student loan, bursaries, and scholarships because of the lack of citizenship. International students, especially from neighbouring African countries, come from the poorest states in the world so how exactly South Africa universities expect them to cough out so much money at once is baffling.

One student from The University of Johannesburg studying a BA in Journalism, Ruth Nwachuckwu, said that she found the registration process alright because she already had most of what she needed but coming up with the R9000 was hard on her parents.

Lydie Kena an Industrial Psychology student had to take a gap year last year just to save enough money for registration and when asked about how she planned to pay the balance she said she was “putting it all in God’s hands”.

It is arguably for some to say but “why don’t they just go study in their own countries universities where it is cheaper”.

Cases like mine are not scarce I was born in SA but because none of my parents have acquired citizenship, I couldn’t apply for an ID and automatically became an “international student”.



  1. well international students are likely not to participate because even if free education is implemented, WE still get to pay for the fees somehow. who knows maybe those few thousands will be shared equally amongst us. If that is not the case, then probably we’ll have to go through the tiring process of applying for permits once our degrees are extended due to the protests. Its quite an unfortunate experience


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