pexels-photo-88767-african-graduate-university-yesYes – you can study at college or university with a GED®.

  • GED® graduates may apply to overseas universities and international online universities.
  • GED® graduates may qualify for admission to higher certificate and diploma courses in a wide range of fields at South African colleges and universities.
  • To study towards a degree at a South African university, a GED® graduate must first meet the requirements set by USAf for exemption

Update received on 12 September 2018 regarding FOREIGN CONDITIONAL EXEMPTION for South African with a GED®

We now have a date regarding the phasing out of Foreign Conditional Exemption for South Africans with a GED®.

The GED is still recognised as a foreign grade 12 option by SAQA.*

USAf has confirmed in writing that they will not consider applications for foreign conditional exemption from South African-based holders of the GED® who

a. Register for, or begin work on the GED® after the end of 2018. (This will allow people currently enrolled for the GED® to complete the credential, seek admission to a foreign university and apply to the Matriculation Board for foreign conditional exemption. It will however, mean that this route will be closed to new South African GED® candidates); or

b. Obtain the GED® credential after December 2019.

This means that the GED is still recognised as a foreign grade 12 equivalent but that FOREIGN EXEMPTION will not be issued to South Africans anymore as from the end of December 2019.

This means that after that date, South Africans with a GED® who wish to apply for a DEGREE course at a university, will have to qualify for one of the OTHER CATEGORIES of exemption, which we have already listed on this page below.

The GED is still recognised as a foreign grade 12 option by SAQA.*

Many overseas universities accept the GED® for admission purposes and offer highly regarded degree programmes. South African GED® graduates who wish to enrol for degree study do have the option to consider overseas online universities.

Online University Degrees are the Best Option for Degree Courses in many fields

At our sister site, Online University Degrees, we list options for obtaining a degree qualification online via overseas universities.

To study towards a degree in South Africa

You can only apply to South African universities if you qualify for exemption.

Exemption is NOT required for admission to DIPLOMA and HIGHER CERTIFICATE courses at South African universities and private institutions of higher learning. It will still be possible to qualify for admission to these courses with a GED®.

It will just be a little more challenging to qualify for exemption for admission to DEGREE courses.

Universities South Africa (USAf) governs the entrance criteria for South African universities.

USAf have issued notice that they will no longer consider applications for Foreign Conditional Exemption from South African GED® graduates after December 2019.

Once a student has completed the GED® and meets the acceptable requirements as per the Gazette , he/she may apply to USAf for consideration.
A student with a GED® may potentially receive one of the below documents if you meet the respective requirements for one of these options:

  • Foreign Conditional Exemption
  • Senatorial Discretion
  • Mature Age Exemption – if you are age 23 or older you may qualify for exemption
  • Tertiary Qualifications – If you pass a course the equivalent of first year university level at a college, offline university or online university, then you can apply to Universities SA to grant you university exemption and then apply to enrol at a university.
  • Academic and Professional Certificate at NQF Level 5 – refer to the bold paragraph (c) from the Higher Education Act 101 of 1997 below 

Certificate of complete exemption by virtue of academic and professional certificates
The Committee of Principals shall issue a certificate of complete exemption to –
a graduate-by-examination of a university or other institution approved by the Committee of Principals; or
a person who has passed examinations at a university or other institution approved by the Committee of Principals and who satisfied all the requirements of a qualification which in the opinion of the Committee of Principals is equivalent to an approved university degree; or
a person who has passed examinations at a university or other institution approved by the Committee of Principals which represent a minimum of, or the equivalent of a minimum of 120 credits, registered at level 5, or higher, on the National Qualifications Framework of the South African Qualifications Authority; or
a medical or dental practitioner duly registered to practice as such under the provisions of the Medical, Dental and Supplementary Health Services Professions Act, 1974 (Act 56 of 1974).”

  • Recognition of Prior Learning – All higher education institutions in South African must have a policy and procedure to assess prospective students’ RPL to see if they can enter the courses with a reasonable chance of success.RPL provides a way for the university to acknowledge your knowledge and skills gained via  non-formal education and/or work experience, in order to obtain admission towards a qualification. It may also include candidates lacking the minimum requirements for entry into a formal learning programme (e.g. matriculation endorsement).

As with any matric option, there is no guarantee that a GED® graduate will be issued with exemption from USAf, nor that a university will accept his/her application.

PLEASE NOTE: You MUST check with the universities and specific faculty of your choice that they will accept these foreign qualifications with one of the categories of exemption. Many degrees and courses have additional requirements which you will also have to fulfill, no matter what Grade 12 credential you have.

But as stated above, there is an online solution…

International, overseas online universities offer many benefits such as the following

  1. no exemption requirements needed from USAf
  2. GED® is recognised and widely accepted
  3. studying in the safety and security of your own home or office
  4. flexibility and convenience
  5. time and place of your choice
  6. develop technical skills
  7. look good on your CV as they indicate commitment, motivation and perseverance
  8. global networking
  9. international recognition

…and many other benefits. Go to Online University Degrees for more information.

*SAQA (the South African Qualifications Authority) has evaluated the GED® and found the  National Senior Certificate as its closest comparable qualification. SAQA evaluates each submission of a foreign qualification on a case by case basis and therefore students with a GED® are eligible for SAQA Foreign Qualification evaluation.

There is no guarantee that a GED® graduate will be granted exemption from USAf, nor that a university will accept his/her application.