Quality school education costs between R1m and R7.7m for a new born

By Janice Roberts

Chris Pretorius, a wealth manager at AlphaWealth recently became a dad. He decided to work out what he needed to save so that his son gets the best education possible. He discovered that a top rate education in South Africa will cost between R1m and R7.7m depending on whether your child gets a quality government education or South Africa’s equivalent of Ivy League education. The numbers are truly shocking given that these numbers exclude things like food, extra lessons, text books, clothes, sports equipment, medical expenses, holidays, a car when s/he turns 18 etc.

The amounts only take into consideration the actual school fees and include nothing else, not even the acceptance fee that most private schools charge. It also excludes tertiary education.

Chris considered three different categories. Both private school options assume that your “little Scrunch” will go to pre-primary school (a junior college owned by Advtech) aged three and will then go to grade R at the respective schools. The government school option only assumes that your child starting in grade R.

The first category is called Ivy League education which assumes your child goes to junior college and then Pridwin College before making his way to Michaelhouse or Hilton College.

The second category is termed first class education which included junior college before attending St. Johns, St. Stithians, St. Davids or Bishops.

Lastly, premium education includes King Edwards or Grey Bloemfontein but only at grade R.

Says Pretorius, “Planning for your little ones schooling is not a cheap exercise as the tables show. This means that you cannot afford to invest cautiously, the numbers force you to take risk and the assumption that you will generate long term stock market returns. If you do not invest as aggressively as possible the amount of savings or lump sum investment will increase significantly.”

The table below shows what you can expect to pay for a new baby’s education. This is the value of all fees that you will pay in the future assuming 10% annual school price inflation.


The table below shows the lump sum required at the birth of your baby or the annual required contribution. The amounts below do not make provision for tax and hence the amounts need to be escalated by at least capital gains tax.

However if you invest well and generate alpha of 2.4% like the Alpha Equity Hedge has done since inception, you will be able to reduce the amounts above by 16%. The table provides you with an indication of the effect of generating 2.4% alpha.

The table below provides the current fees of the mentioned schools.


For the purposes of this analysis, Chris made the following assumptions:

1. All private school options make use of junior college from grade 000 till grade R and 0, and then make use of the respective schools grade R classes if available if not then grade R is also at junior college. The government school option: your child only starts school at grade R.

2. Pridwin College is used as the primary school for Michaelhouse and Hilton which do not have a pre-primary.

3. School price inflation is 10%.

4. Inflation is 6%.

5. All of your money is invested in the stock market and the historical average real return of 8% applies to your funds.

6. No provision for sequence risk.

7. Taxes have not been accounted for.

8. Chris averaged the fees for St. Stithians, St. Davids, St. Johns and Bishops which all offer top rate education.

9. Chris averaged the fees of Pridwin, Michaelhouse and Hilton College which offer Ivy League education.

10. Chris averaged the fees of King Edward and Grey Bloemfontein which offer premium education.



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