Studying further without Matric Endorsement (Exemption)

December 11, 2020 in Education

Generally if you want to study further you need a South African Matric certificate with endorsement – this is a legal requirement for first degree studies at any South African university.

However, you can apply for a conditional exemption of the above rule if you meet certain requirements.

Here are some of the types of conditional exemptions you can apply for:

Mature Age Exemption

Certificate of conditional exemption by virtue of mature age

There are 2 options related to applying for this exemption:

  1. a. You will be 23 years old or above during the year you wish to apply at a University.


  1. b. Be in possession of a senior certificate with at least 40 percent in at least four Higher Grade or Standard Grade subjects with at least one subject passed on the higher grade.


  1. You are 45 years or older during the year you wish to apply at a University regardless. In this case educational qualifications are not required.

Senate’s discretionary Exemption

If you can prove to the University that you are capable of doing degree studies by passing a selection process approved by that University then the University can issue you with a discretionary exemption. After you complete one full credit at the University your discretionary exemption can be changed to a complete exemption starting from the first day of the month in which you started studying for your degree.

How to Apply for a Matric Exemption

The easiest way to apply for a Matric Exemption is to complete the online application provided by Universities South Africa. The application starts with an assessment to make sure which type of exemption you may qualify for.


The application fee for 2021 is R610.00 and is non-refundable. Payment details will be given during the online application process.

Waiting times

It takes the matriculation board 5 – 10 working days to process an application. If you do qualify for an exemption a provisional letter will be given to you which you can use to apply to any South African university as long as you meet their minimum requirements for the degree you wish to pursue. The actual certificate is issued 6 – 8 weeks after the provisional letter is given.

Additional Requirements

The university itself may have additional approval processes beyond the requirement of a matric exemption.

What to do after you have your Matric Exemption

Once you have your provisional letter you can include this to apply at any South African university.