10 Best Private Universities in South Africa 2022 (2023)

10 Best Private Universities in South Africa 2022 (1)

Studying in a Private or Public university or college is a thing of choice. However, if your preference is to study in a private college in South Africa, there is a wide variety of South African private universities for you.

Meanwhile, you may need to attend one of the best private universities or colleges to get the right value for your money.

South Africa has over thirty-five private universities. The beauty of these private universities is that many of them specialize in certain disciplines. Thus, they will be your ideal choice if you plan to study the particular discipline that the South African private college specializes in.

In this post, we will share with you ten of the best private universities and colleges in South Africa. You will also get information about the courses and programs which they offer and a link to visit their official site to discover more about the school.

We hope that at the end of the post, you will find a South African private university that will tickle your fancy.

List of Private Universities in South Africa

If you reside in South Africa or grew up in the country, you may already know that there are myriads of higher educational institutions in the country. However, not many of them are public or comprehensive universities, and several others have gone defunct.

Private universities outnumber public universities in South Africa and more universities are springing up in the country every year. Of course, some of these new universities are private universities. South African Graduate Institute, for example, began in 2016.

Below is a full list of South African Private University based on their types.

Private Higher Education

  • Akademia,
  • Akademie Reformatoriese Opleiding en Studies,
  • Cornerstone Institute,
  • Centurion Akademie / Academy,
  • Helderberg College,
  • Foundation for Professional Development,
  • Monash South Africa,
  • Oval Education International,
  • Pearson Institute of Higher Education (formerly Midrand Graduate Institute & CTI Education Group),
  • South African College of Applied Psychology (SACAP), and
  • South African Institute for Heritage Science, and Conservation.

Private College

  • CTU Training Solutions,
  • Damelin,
  • Management College of Southern Africa,
  • Qualitas Career Academy,
  • Red & Yellow School,
  • Rosebank College,
  • St Augustine College of South Africa,
  • UniCollege West Rand,
  • Varsity College, and
  • Vega.

Hospitality School

  • Stenden University South Africa

Business Institute/ Marketing

  • Boston City Campus and Business College,
  • New World Mission Dunamis International University (Regenesys Business School),
  • South African Graduate Institute,
  • Southern Business School,
  • Milpark Business School, and
  • IMM Graduate School of Marketing.

Artisan Training School (Engineering Trades)

  • Artisan Training Instituter


  • AFDA, The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance,
  • BHC School of Design,
  • Inscape Design College,
  • The Open Window,
  • The Design School Southern Africa

Sports & Fitness College

  • eta College

Best Private Universities in South Africa

To rank the best private university in South Africa out of the list of universities and colleges above is a tricky job. Yet, we have selected ten private universities for you which we think are worth considering.

We ranked these universities simply based on the scope of degree programs they offer, mode of offering these programs, and the number of locations they are situated.

Thus, Regenesys Business school may be the best private business school in the country but it wouldn’t make our list because of its course of study limitation.

However, you can always refer to our comprehensive list of South African Universities and Colleges to compare colleges offering degree programs in a particular area of study.

Meanwhile, here are our top 10 private universities and colleges in South Africa.

  • Damelin
  • Varsity College
  • Foundation for Professional Development
  • Monash South Africa
  • Pearson Institute of Higher Education
  • CTU Training Solutions
  • Cornerstone Institute
  • Helderberg College of Higher Education
  • Vega School
  • Qualitas Career Academy

Damelin College

The Education Investment Corporation Limited (Educor) group owns Damelin. The college took its name from Benjamin Damelin in 1943. Damelin offers loads of degrees, diplomas, and other higher qualifications.

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However, Damelin remains a college because of the South African government restriction for tertiary institutions. Damelin has provisional accreditation with Umalusi, the highest possible accreditation obtainable with that particular ETQA.

Schools fit for training students in South Africa must have accreditation from any of the 33 Education & Training Quality Assurance bodies (ETQAs).

Damelin offers its academic programs through face-to-face learning at a campus, online, or flexible distance learning.

This South African private college has seventeen (17) campuses in several locations in South Africa including Benoni, Pretoria City, Vaal, Cape Town City, and Port Elizabeth.

Additionally, Damelin has fifteen (15) faculties and schools from which it dispenses quality academic training to its students. Some of these faculties and schools include the School of Information Technology, School of Banking and Insurance, and the Faculty of Creative Arts. Coding and Web Development is Damelin’s Future studies.

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Varsity College

Varsity College began in 1991 and is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). Having accreditation by the Council on Higher Education (CHE), VArsity stands out as one of the best private universities in South Africa.

Meanwhile, The Independent Institute of Education (IIE), a South African private higher education provider, owns Varsity College.

Varsity College has eight campuses across South Africa. These campuses are in Cape Town, Durban North, Durban Westville, Pretoria, Midrand, Sandton, Pietermaritzburg, and Port Elizabeth.

Through these locations, IIE’s Varsity College offers undergraduate higher certificates, diplomas, and degrees; postgraduate degrees; and short learning programs.

Varsity College has four (4) faculties namely Faculty of Commerce, Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Information & Communications Technology, and Faculty of Social Sciences. Through these faculties, you can gain a higher education degree from any of Varsity’s five (5) academic schools.

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Foundation for Professional Development

The Foundation for Professional Development or FPD started in 1997 and has over 400,000 total student enrollment.

This is one large private higher education facility that not only provides affordable education to postgraduate students but also free HIV testing to South Africans since 2004.

FPD has accreditation by the Council for Higher Education (CHE) and other professional accreditation bodies to offer quality academic programs.

However, this South African Private Higher Education has only one campus, which is located at Pretoria.

Furthermore, FPD offers a wide variety of professional courses through its six (6) schools. These schools are the Business School, School of Health Sciences, School of Education, Nursing School, School of Occupational Health, and School of Information Technology/ FPD also offers free courses and an e-learning platform to its students.

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Monash South Africa

Monash University South Africa or MSA used to be a branch campus of Monash University, Australia until they became defunct in 2019. The campus now belongs to The Independent Institute of Education (IIE), so, it now goes by the name IIE MSA.

This private university is located in Gauteng, Johannesburg, South Africa and has over 4,000 students from over 50 African countries.

Monash South Africa offers IIE Accredited programs which the British Accreditation Council recognizes internationally.

This private South African university offers its students Certificate and Diploma, and Foundation degrees. It also offers undergraduate degrees, postgraduate degrees, and IIE MSA Executive program.

Furthermore, IIE MSA offers its academic programs and degrees through its Faculty of Business, Engineering and Technology, and its Faculty of Social and Health Sciences.

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Pearson Institute of Higher Education

Pearson Institute of Higher Education or PIHE used to be the Midrand Graduate Institute until 2019 when Pearson Education acquired 100% of its shares.

This South African private university has twelve (12) campuses across South Africa. These campuses are in Bedfordview, Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Durbanville, East London, Midrand, Nelspruit, Port Elizabeth, Potchefstroom, Pretoria, and Vanderbijlpark.

PIHE has accreditation by the Council of Higher Education (CHE) as well as other local, professional, and international accreditation bodies.

Also, Pearson Institute offers quality degrees, higher certificates, foundation programs, and certificate programs to its students.

It does these through its faculty of Commerce and Law, Humanities, Applied Sciences, and Foundation and Academic Support.

Additionally, you can get Online Part-Time programs at Pearson Institute.

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CTU Training Solutions

CTU Training Solution provides Industry Relevant skills to professionals. This South African private university has been running since 1987.

The school has accreditation by The Media, Information, and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA).

CTU consists of four divisions namely; Corporate, which provides corporate training and development solutions; The Career Division, which specializes in 1 – 3 years full-time programs, and The Part-Time short courses and skills development programs.

With also an Online Training opportunity for students, CTU is one of the best private colleges in South Africa.

The college has 14 campuses across South Africa. These campuses are in the major locations of Gauteng, Free State, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, North West, Kwazulu Natal, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga.

Additionally, CTU offers its full-time programs through its IT, Design, Business, Engineering, and Humanities Faculties.

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Cornerstone Institute

Cornerstone Institute is a private, not-for-profit Higher Institution in South Africa. This university began in 1970 and has been offering quality degrees and certificate programs ever since, making it one of the best universities in South Africa.

Cornerstone’s programs have accreditation by the Council of Higher Education.

Furthermore, Cornerstone’s programs are easily accessible as it has several learning communities in Johannesburg, Hatfield, Mbombela, Witbank, Eastern Cape, Hermanus, Helderberg, Plettenberg Bay, and George. However, its main campus is in Cape Town.

At Cornerstone, you can acquire a postgraduate degree and certificate, undergraduate degree, higher certificate, and short course certificate.

You can get these degrees and certificate through Cornerstones’s Business Studies, Media Studies, Education, Psychology, and Sociology/Community Development Departments.

Cornerstone also has an Ethics, Philosophy, Religious Studies Core/Theology department, as well as the opportunity to study some programs online.

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Helderberg College of Higher Education

Helderberg College of Higher Education or HCHE is one of the oldest colleges in South Africa. It is the first College the Seventh-day Adventist Church established outside of North America.

Combined with being the oldest Seventh-day Adventist College in Africa, this South African college has a rich history that they complement with quality education offerings.

All Helderberg College programs have accreditation by the Council on Higher Education. Although this old South African college has a Christian root, it is not a Christian College.

It has three faculties – Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Business, and Faculty of Theology – from which it offers Bachelor’s Diploma, and Higher Certificate programs.

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Qualitas Career Academy

Qualitas Career Academy, like the name, provides quality education toward a fulfilling career. Even though this college began its operation in 2008, it stands out as one of the best colleges in South Africa.

This South African college has accreditation by UMALUSI, Services Sectoral Education & Training Authority (SSETA), and MICT SETA.

Qualitas offers undergraduate degrees and certificate programs through its Business & Technology Academy, Hair Academy, Health Academy, School of Architectural Draughtsmanship and Construction, and Wellness Academy.

Also, Qualitas offers its programs as either full-time or part-time, where the full-time program is towards a college degree and part-time is towards a certificate.

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Why Study at a Private University?

People ask this question all the time as they don’t understand how one will leave Public universities or colleges with its cost-effectiveness and engaging student activities to study in a private school.

Truly, there could be a lot of advantages in studying at a Public university but that does not mean you can write private universities off.

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Here are the reasons why many students will still prefer a private college or university in South Africa to a Public university or college:

Student-to Faculty-Ratio:

We all know that Private school doesn’t have a large student population. You can get private colleges where there are only five students in the classroom.

This could be a strong point as students get the level of concentration and attention they need to do well in their chosen program of study. There is no better way to express your creativity when you have qualified professors whose doors are always open to your ideas.

Uninterrupted Learning

Private Colleges and Universities ensure that you complete your higher education as at the time you’re supposed to. Private universities do not receive funding from the government, so, they don’t suffer from the occasional strikes and protests that plight public universities.

You don’t have to put up with grieving professors who are unhappy with their pay or striking action targeted at bringing the government’s attention to building facilities.

Specialization Focus

As you must have seen from our above list of private colleges and universities in South Africa, private colleges may be the best option for you to study a specialization.

For example, eta Sports and Fitness College may prove to be the best option for you if you’re looking for quality health and fitness education.

Even though some public universities may offer such a program, they may lack a comprehensive curriculum or even the right facility to ensure you get the best education.

Close-Knit Community

Truly, Public universities have a good number of engaging student activities that boosts campus life. But what if you are not an outgoing person?

Private universities ad colleges in its smallness place you in the midst of a few people who you could come to trust over time. Because these people are almost like you and you come in contact with them, you could grow to trust them and accept them as a family.

Such a close relationship will oftentimes grow into strong networks for the future.


Private universities and Colleges in South Africa will benefit you in a lot of ways. You will get a quality of education comparable to and even exceeding public universities education.

With some of the South AfricanColleges and Universities enjoying international acceptance, you will also get to connect with students from Africa and other parts of the world.

So, if you have decided to study at a private higher institution in South Africa, our list of best private universities and colleges should help you kickstart your tertiary education. We hope you find it helpful.

FAQs on best private universities in South Africa

How many private colleges are there in South Africa?

There are about 300 recognized private colleges in South Africa

How much does it cost to attend a private college in South Africa?

The average cost at private universities ranges betweenR6 600 to R50 000 for part-time programmes per year and R38 500 to R99 500 for full-time programmes per year

Are private colleges in South Africa easier to get into?

Private colleges in SA are more selective in the students it admits. If your grades were not so great in high school, then you may get into a private college.

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