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Warning about South African school fees.

Reference: Published by Staff Writer, 3 May 2023

According to Paul Esterhuizen, CEO of School-Days, many parents in the nation struggle to pay for tuition, and price increases don’t appear to be slowing down.

The CEO claims that both government and private schools in the nation are raising their tuition, with increases expected to range between 4% and 6% in 2023.

Education inflation is anticipated to continue and surpass the Consumer Price Index (CPI) by 3% — or around 10% in March 2023 — increasing costs for parents who are already struggling to make ends meet.

In addition, Esterhuizen noted that school prices are anticipated to outpace wage inflation, making it even more challenging for parents to pay for their children’s education.

More than 40% of school fee accounts would be delinquent by the end of 2022, according to financial services company TPN Credit Bureau.

Additionally, according to TPN, 25% of parents did not pay any kind of overdue school fees at all.

However, parents have other costs besides tuition to consider, such as those for uniforms, books, sports equipment, and field excursions.

Families all around the country are already stressed for cash and are having a hard time keeping up with the rising cost of life due to inflation.

Even though the South African Reserve Bank has been raising interest rates to combat the country’s out-of-control inflation, its efforts have mostly been ineffective, as inflation has remained over the target range of 3% to 6%, primarily due to rising food prices.

As a result of the rate increases, the cost of debt has increased, and many people are now having trouble making their bond and other loan payments.

Esterhuizen cautioned that the failure to pay school fees also has ramifications for a person’s credit score, which raises the cost of borrowing even more as demands from growing school prices mount.

Even worse, it can have an effect on their child’s academic performance.

Private school parents who are in default are sent a letter of demand and then given 20 business days to pay the unpaid sum, according to Ashleigh Laurent, legal counsel at TPN, he added.

If a parent still doesn’t pay after a lengthy notice period, the school may then elect to exclude the learner.

According to Esterhuizen, non-paying parents of children enrolled in public schools are given a little bit more protection.

Before pursuing legal action for non-payment, public schools must determine whether parents qualify for a complete, partial, or conditional exemption from fees.

In addition, if parents have not requested an exception, public schools must notify them in writing. In the event that payment is not made, parents may be sent a letter of demand with a three-month payment deadline starting from the date of receipt of the letter.