Higher Education

At PwC we are passionate about education and as a result we have invested significantly in the higher education industry.


We have the most distinguished higher education practice in South Africa. We are external auditors / advisors to all 26 public universities in South Africa. We are also external auditors / advisors to the majority of the 50 Technical and Vocational Education and Training Colleges (TVET) in South Africa. We provide external audit, advisory as well as taxation services to this industry.

Internationally, PwC renders professional services to a significant portfolio of leading universities around the world. We are external auditors of 9 of the top 10 universities in the world, as measured by the Times Higher Education World Rankings of 2014-2015.

Industry group

As a result of our significant footprint in the industry, we have formed a Higher Education Industry Group that consists of more than 50 partners and managers. Ernest Carelse, our Higher Education Leader, ensures the group meets on a quarterly basis to discuss topical matters and industry best practice for universities and TVET colleges. This industry group has produced material to support tertiary institutions on corporate governance, the Higher Education Act and the framework for cost and income allocation in higher education institutions. This group has also been successful in obtaining binding class rulings on the tax treatment of Post-Doctoral Fellowships and subsistence allowances in respect of overseas sabbaticals. In addition, the group worked closely with the Department of Higher Education and Training to update the Reporting Regulations for Annual Reporting by Public Higher Institutions.

Annual conference

Since 1993, we have hosted a Higher Education Conference where strategic and technical role players in the sector share thoughts and debate matters of importance to the education industry. Vice-chancellors, representatives of the Department of Higher Education and Training, the Auditor-General, international education experts and various other stakeholders have participated in the conference over the last 21 years. This remains a valuable forum for chief financial officers of tertiary institutions and we view it as an important part of our ongoing support to the sector. Our 2016 conference is scheduled for the 5th and 6th of September in Cape Town.

Thought Leadership

We have produced several thought leadership publications on Higher Education. In September 2014, we launched Moving Forward : Trends in annual reporting by South African public universities at our annual conference. This publication was co-authored by Professor Loyiso Nongxa and Ernest Carelse. Following our 2014 Higher Education Conference where "Information Technology as a catalyst for creating access to education" featured as a topic, we prepared and shared Building Digital Trust in October 2014 with the higher education community. This publication highlights the growing importance of information, communication and technology in higher education in South Africa.

In addition, you can also access our latest higher education publication in the United States, "Perspectives in Higher Education" as well as publications produced in the United Kingdom, such as the quarterly "Higher Education Matters" publication.

We have an unsurpassed footprint in the education industry in South Africa. We are the only professional services firm with a dedicated education industry group that adds value to universities and TVET Colleges. Our annual conference connects role players and our thought leadership elicit debate in the industry.