Being a student in 2016 vs. 2017 in South Africa – what has changed?

Up to 2016, South Africa was one of the most popular countries for international students in higher education. However, in 2017 a significant change took place resulting in fewer students studying at South African universities.
Student visa is no longer valid for language courses
Students who intended on studying a language course could no longer do so after the student visas were no longer valid for this type of study. The new visa scheme meant that students enrolled onto language courses were not eligible for a visa. In addition, practical training courses are also no longer covered by the visa. While these changes have negatively impacted certain people it has been a positive change for others. Under the new rules, the duration of the visa has been extended to 8 years.
Funding to students and courses have been restricted
Up until 2016, students were offered a range of funding options but in 2017 these were reduced in 2017. These funding cuts also applied to the finance made available to universities to invest in facilities and resources. As a result, students are having to fund their own study and related living expenses. This reduces the likelihood of some students being able to access education. Free education system that was available for all the students in South Africa has been removed as well. Therefore, the students will never be able to pursue their educational goals without spending any money. Due to this reason, the number of student protests taking place within the country has also been increased in the recent past.
The living costs have gone down
In addition to the above, university fees have increased across South Africa. While this means that university is not as accessible as it once was, living costs have also reduced meaning that meals and day to day living is more affordable.