How Can Affordability Influence Your Career or Study Choice

How Can Affordability Influence Your CareerAffordability is an important factor that affects career and study choices for individuals. It is often said that higher education is the key to success, but the reality is that not everyone can afford it. This is especially true in South Africa, where the cost of education and living expenses can be prohibitive for many. In this article, we will explore how affordability can influence career and study choices in South Africa.

The Cost of Education in South Africa

In South Africa, the cost of education can be prohibitively expensive. For many individuals, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, the cost of tuition fees and other expenses can be a barrier to pursuing higher education. According to the 2020 Fees Must Fall Report, South Africa has the highest tuition fees in Africa. Furthermore, the report found that the cost of tuition fees in South Africa has increased by an average of 8% per year over the past decade, making higher education even more unaffordable for many.

Career Choices and Affordability

The cost of education can significantly impact the career choices that individuals make. For example, if someone cannot afford to attend university, they may opt for vocational training or apprenticeships instead. This can limit their career options, as certain industries require a degree or higher education qualifications. Moreover, many entry-level positions in high-paying industries often require a degree, and without one, individuals may not be able to enter those industries.

Affordability can also influence career choices in terms of salary expectations. If someone cannot afford to attend university and instead opts for vocational training or apprenticeships, they may have lower salary expectations. This can limit their career progression and earning potential in the long run.

Study Choices and Affordability

Affordability also plays a significant role in the study choices that individuals make. For example, someone from a disadvantaged background may not be able to afford to study at a prestigious university, even if they have the academic ability to do so. They may instead opt for a less expensive university or a course that is closer to home.

Furthermore, affordability can also impact the study choices that individuals make in terms of course selection. If someone cannot afford to study full-time, they may opt for part-time or distance learning courses instead. This can limit their course options, as certain courses may not be available through these modes of study.

The Impact of Affordability on Access to Education

The high cost of education in South Africa has a significant impact on access to education. Many individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds are unable to afford the cost of tuition fees, accommodation, textbooks, and other expenses. This limits their ability to access higher education and pursue their chosen careers. Furthermore, the lack of access to education perpetuates social inequality and limits the country’s economic growth potential.

Government Interventions to Address Affordability

The South African government has implemented various interventions to address the issue of affordability in education. One such intervention is the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), which provides financial assistance to students from low-income households. The scheme covers tuition fees, accommodation, and other expenses, and is designed to help students who would not otherwise be able to afford higher education.

Another intervention is the provision of bursaries by government departments, private companies, and non-governmental organizations. These bursaries cover the cost of tuition fees and other expenses and are aimed at helping disadvantaged individuals access higher education.


Affordability is a critical factor that influences career and study choices in South Africa. The high cost of education limits access to higher education and impacts the career options and earning potential of individuals. However, government interventions such as NSFAS and bursaries can help alleviate the financial burden on students from disadvantaged backgrounds. It is important that efforts are made to increase access to education and reduce the financial barriers that prevent individuals from pursuing their desired careers and achieving their full potential. Additionally, there is a need for greater transparency and accountability in the allocation of funding to ensure that it reaches those who need it most.

Related Post :
Be part of our exclusive WhatsApp Channel sharing premium job opportunities across South Africa at no cost. Join now while it’s free before subscription charges apply! Click here to join: