Students urged to consider local options

2018-05-16 06:00

A matric graduate moving to the other side of the country to start a new chapter in their life, outside of their familiar environment, is an exciting thought.

However, it is important to ensure that all options are considered, including those closer to home, as it can help students avoid hidden costs unrelated to the actual cost of studying.

Nola Payne, head of faculty for Information and Communications Technology at The Independent Institute of Education, has provided some solid reasons for opting to choose an institution close to home.

She said emotional and financial advice was usually neglected, as apposed to the usual advice provided of how to apply for admission and consider course choices.

Payne said prospective students had to give thought to the following when drawing up a budget:

  • Learning material: Decide how to utilise prescribed textbooks and supplementary material, as students will need to budget for two semesters, each of which will contain different modules with their own resource requirements.
  • Accommodation: Consider whether on-campus or off-campus accommodation will be used. If you are not going to study from home, there are costs relating to rent, meals, airtime and laundry that need to be budgeted for as well.
  • Travelling costs: Remember that this includes day-to-day travel, as well as long-term considerations.

The budget should enable students to take longer journeys to return home during recess periods, as well as to commute to campus from nearby student residences or off-campus accommodation daily.

According to Payne, there are sound financial reasons for considering studying at an institution close to your home.

“On top of that, the value of your support structure should not be underestimated. South African first-year drop-out rates are high, and a lack of support is one of the reasons,” said Payne.

“We therefore urge the class of 2018 to carefully investigate all options, and all the factors that will impact on their well-being during their first year at varsity.”

Payne urged prospective students to be aware of the many options for higher education besides public universities, and to remember that registered private institutions were subjected to exactly the same regulations, accreditation requirements and oversight.

“Considering a local higher education institution will almost always be more economical, because you then have the option of staying at home and saving costs on those extras that come with rental accommodation; plus, you will have your support system around you when times get tough.

“Also remember that some institutions have more than one campus, so you could perhaps consider transferring at a later stage when you have found your feet.”

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