Fewer than 60% of parents pay their school fees on time in South Africa

Schools in South Africa are warning parents that they are at risk of being ‘blacklisted’ for credit if they fail to pay their children’s school fees.

Credit bureau TPN said that fewer than 60% of parents pay their school fees on time in South Africa, with the situation only getting worse after the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

Many parents are under the misconception that non-payment of school fees won’t affect their credit record, but TPN said that schools could freely list non-paying parents with credit bureaus in the country, which counts against their credit records.

“Independent and fee-paying public schools are heavily reliant on parents to pay school fees,” it said.

“The reality, however, is that less than 60% of parents pay their school fees on time. This has a significant knock-on effect on a school’s finances, severely impacting their ability to meet their operational costs.”

Waldo Marcus, head of marketing at TPN said that recent assessments at four of Johannesburg’s most prominent public schools found that each of the schools has more than R20 million in outstanding fees to recover, with the highest close to R30 million.