Getting a higher education qualification is an important next step after matric. In addition to the public higher education and training institutions (which include public universities, universities of technology, technical vocational education and training (TVET) colleges and community colleges) you can choose to apply to, you can also enroll with one of the several private institutions in the country.

But before you decide to register with a private institution, it is important to ensure that the college is registered and their programmes are accredited. Attending a fake college that offers programmes that have not been accredited leaves you with an invalid qualification that is not recognised. It is therefore important to verify that the college is legally allowed to operate.

What is a registered college?

A registered college is one that is registered and recognised by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). By law, all private higher education and training colleges are required to register with the Department of Higher Education and Training and display their registration certificate on their premises.

What is an accredited programme or qualification?

Accredited programmes or qualifications are those that have been reviewed by the Council of Higher Education (CHE) in order to make sure that they meet specific education and quality standards. An accredited programme is nationally recognised and registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

How can you check is a college is registered and the programmes they offer are accredited?

To check if the college you want to attend is registered and their programmes are accredited you can:

  • Request to see their registration certificate (the certificate should show the name of the college, the site of delivery; the programmes it is registered to offer, and the registration period of the college)

  • Check the Register of Private Higher Education Institutions on the DHET website. To access the register Click Here

  • Call the department on 0800 87 2222, and a call centre agent will confirm if the college is registered or not

  • Contact the CHE or SAQA to verify if any programme you are interested in is accredited.

NB! Only enroll and pay fees once you have verified with DHET that the college you're interested in is registered, and its programme is accredited.

What should do you after finding that the college you have enrolled with is fake (unregistered)?

  • Immediately inform DHET by calling the toll-free call centre on 0800 87 2222

  • If you had already paid registration and/or tuition fees, you should report the college to SAPS and DHET. To claim a refund you can approach Small Claims Court at your nearest Magistrate‚Äôs Court if you had paid anything less than R15 000. For a refund of an amount more than R15 000, you will need a lawyer.

If you've had the misfortune of finding out a college you're interested in is bogus, don't lose hope, here are some colleges that accept applications throughout the year.