Almost half of local university revenue comes from government grants

Governmental body Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has released a look into the financial position of the country’s higher education institutes, especially when it comes to grants, and has come to a conclusion: “Universities depend more on government for funding“.

The big takeaway from Stats SA is this: 48 percent of university revenue, on average, comes from government grants. 33 percent comes from tuition fees, and the final 19 percent is attributed to other sources such as interest, dividends and donations.

This is revealed in the chart below. Here you can see the revenue split between these three sources for the higher education institutions in the country, as well as the schools’ total revenue for the year of the data, 2019.

From here we can also see how each university diverges from the 48 / 33 / 19 split which is the average. Outliers include the University of Mpumalanga which gets a whopping 87 percent of its revenue from government funding, and Walter Sisulu University which has the highest revenue percentage from tuition at 55 percent.


Stats SA explains the high government grants going to University of Mpumalanga and Sol Plaatje University is due to the newness of the institutions.

These findings are all presented by Stats SA in the context of the Fees Must Fall movement (#FeesMustFall), which began in 2015.

“A proportional breakdown of the data also reflects the general shift over time. For every R100 of revenue generated or received in 2014 ‒ the year before the #FeesMustFall campaign began ‒ R44 was from government grants while R56 was in the form of non-grant funding (R34 from tuition fees, R7 from donations, R4 from interest and dividends, and R11 from other receipts),” Stats SA writes.

This breakdown is presented in another graph below.


In 2019, again the year of this data, that R44 had increased to R48.

Universities receiving large amounts of their revenue from the government, while still having tuition which is too expensive for most South Africans, is a sticking point here.

For those with a head for numbers you can read the full Financial statistics of higher education institutions report here.

[Source & Charts – Stats SA]


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