Friday 6 March 2015

College or university, the differences and making the right decision

Individuals have various options when considering to study further. A tertiary education makes you marketable and prepares you for your career. A vital question is: What should you look out for when deciding which institution to attend?

In South Africa, the difference between colleges and universities is mainly on the NQF parameters, with colleges usually offering courses registered at levels 1 – 7 on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and universities offering course registered at levels 5 -10.

To find out more about the National Qualifications Framework visit

The Department of Higher Education and Training in South Africa categorise education into 3 separate learning platforms:

-        General Education
-        Further Education and Training (FET)
-        Higher Education

Further Education and Training (FET) is the completion of grades 10 -12 and post grade qualifications. Higher Education is referred to as diplomas, technical qualifications and degrees achieved after grade 12.

FET Colleges enable students to complete their National Senior Certificate while gaining vocational or skill-based training; this means students can gain skills and knowledge in the field of work that they would like to move into while completing a customised grades 10 -12 curriculum.

Such colleges may offer Higher Education learning with diplomas and technical qualifications.

Remember that colleges will differ and may not offer levels 1 - 4 NQF learning programs.

A university offers higher learning courses from levels 5 – 10 on the NQF, which would also include diplomas.

Remember that universities will differ and may not all offer levels 5 and 6 NQF qualifications, but only levels 7 – 10.

Making the right choice

The decision on which institution to attend is all about your study preference. Do you want to obtain a degree, diploma or technical qualification? What qualification would your future profession require? For example, a future engineer would require a degree in order to work for a multi-national company. A future chef would require a vocational/technical qualification in order to work in the hospitality industry.

The key is to do your research. Visit the university or college, ask career guidance counsellors, speak to tertiary students/lecturers on campus and gather all the information you can to make the best decision for you!

Whether it’s a university or college, Eduloan can supply you with the educational finance you need to make your dreams come true!

Technology, study fees, registration, textbooks or accommodation, Eduloan can assist you with all of your educational finance requirements.

Since 1996 Eduloan has awarded study loans to the value of over R4 billion.

To contact Eduloan today about financing your career aspirations, visit or call 0860 55 55 44.

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