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Terms and Conditions

1. Definitions and Interpretation.

  • 1.1 The following expressions have the following meanings:
  • 1.1.1 'Administration Fee' means such reasonable fees as CAO may specify from time to time for specified administration or account activity.
  • 1.1.2 'CAO Handbook' means the current year’s handbook as updated and reissued by CAO each year and/or otherwise published on the CAO website.
  • 1.1.3 'Programme' means an undergraduate programme of study offered to applicants through the application services provided by CAO.
  • 1.1.4 'Application' means any submission for one or more Programmes made by an applicant through CAO, including the supporting information used by the institutions to make their selection decisions.
  • 1.1.5 'Applicant' means a person who has submitted a completed application.
  • 1.1.6 'Applicant Data' means all data and information relating to an applicant, including their personal data.
  • 1.1.7 'Personal Data' shall have the same meaning as in The Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (POPIA).
  • 1.1.8 'Supporting Documents' means various documents required by individual institutions to make selection decisions.
  • (a) Current Grade 12s: ID, Final Grade 11 Progress Report, (when applying), PLUS Grade 12 June and Grade 12 Trial results as soon as they become available.
  • (b) Applicants who have already passed Grade 12 and have not studied at another post school institution: ID.
  • (c) Applicants who have already passed Grade 12 and have studied at another post school institution: ID, full academic record.
  • (d) Applicants who wish to study at a private college offering FET programmes: ID, copy of highest qualification achieved.
  • (e) If you have upgraded one or more of your subjects, send us a certified copy of your combined statement/certificate of results.
  • (f) Please note: Some institutions may request additional documents.
  • (g) If you have already written the Final Grade 12 NSC examinations, your results will be downloaded directly from the Department of Basic Education database. This applies for public schools, Independent Examinations Board (IEB) and South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI) examinations, i.e. certified by UMALUSI.
  • (h) If you don’t have a copy of your ID, you must provide your ID number and submit a certified copy of your ID as soon as you receive it.
  • 1.1.9 'Intellectual Property Rights'means all patents, copyright and related rights, trademarks, trade, business and domain names, goodwill or actionable claims for passing off designs, database rights, confidential information (including know-how and trade secrets) and any other intellectual property rights, in each case whether registered or unregistered and including all applications for and renewals or extensions of such rights, and all similar or equivalent rights or forms of protection in any part of the world.
  • 2. You are encouraged to apply online at www.cao.ac.za as your application is immediately available to the institution/s to which you have applied on receipt of your application and administration fee. You can apply and pay the administration fee online.

  • 2.1 If you apply online or via the mobile app and then pay via EasyPay, your application is available to the institution/s as soon as we receive your administration fee payment, which is generally the day following your payment.
  • 2.2 If you apply by submitting a hard copy application form and you pay the administration fee, your application takes at least two weeks after we receive your application form and payment before it is available to the institution/s to which you have applied. We have no control over how long the Post Office takes to deliver your completed application form to us.
  • 3. Complete and submit your application to us as soon as possible. Preferably online using our website (www.cao.ac.za).

  • 4. We process applications for our member institutions from 1 March for the following years January (First Semester) intake. We process applications for member universities that have a Second Semester intake from August for the following year’s July (Second Semester) intake.

  • 5. Should you wish to study at a TVET College, please contact the TVET college directly.

  • 6. All supporting documents must be uploaded on our website (www.cao.ac.za).Documents uploaded onto our website are immediately available to the institutions with which you have a valid application. No hard copies of documents are accepted.

  • 6.1. Ensure that documents are clear and legible. Illegible documents could delay or jeopardise the selection process at institutions.
  • 7. Institutions have informed us that the earlier in the year you apply, the earlier you are considered for a place.

  • 8. Make sure that the ID number and Full Name and Surname you use when you apply through the CAO are exactly the same as the one you use when you register for your Final Grade 12 Examination with the Department of Basic Education (DBE). If it differs, we will not be able to download your final examination results from the DBE database and match them to your application information at the institution to which you have applied.

  • 9. An application is considered to be valid only once the full application (online or mobile app or hard copy), including the programme choices, signed Declaration and Informed Consent as well as the full administration fee has been received by the CAO. Only then will it be processed and made available to institutions.

  • 10. The official Received Date for the application will be the date on which the completed/valid application – with programme choices, full payment, declaration and informed consent have been received. Applicant and application information will be available to institutions only once these terms and conditions have been met.

  • 11. Administration and Change of Mind (COM) fees are not refundable.

  • 12. Please provide the correct email and cell phone number as all messages are sent to you via SMS and/or email while all letters are sent to you via email.

  • 13. Without a valid cell phone number, you will not receive any messages from the CAO or institutions to which you have applied. Without a valid email address, you may miss requests or offers made by the institution/s to which you applied.

  • 14. The cell phone and email details we use are those on your original application or that you have conveyed to us via email AFTER you have applied and have changed either or both of them. See Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, 2002 on www.gov.za regarding emailed documents.

  • 15. Within four weeks after CAO receives your valid application, we will send you an Acknowledgement Letter by email in which the CAO acknowledges that we have received and processed your application.

  • 16. The Acknowledgement Letter will have all the details you have provided on your application. Applicants are fully responsible for checking their acknowledgement letters and informing the CAO of any errors, omissions or changes so that it may be corrected.

  • 17. If you do not inform us of errors, omissions or changes within one week after we have sent you an Acknowledgement Letter, the CAO shall accept that all the information in an Acknowledgement Letter is correct and as complete as you want it to be.

  • 18. If you have not received an Acknowledgement Letter by the end of four weeks after you have applied, please enquire if the CAO has received your application. (See page 3 for contact details).

  • 19. We provide your information to institutions electronically. The institutions have full and final responsibility for selection and admission decisions, not the CAO.

  • 20. Institutions will contact you directly with their selection decision. Sometimes institutions request that the CAO also convey a selection decision to an applicant, but the communication received directly from the institution must be regarded as the official notification.

  • 21. Institutions start making offers early in the year preceding the year of entry. It is in your best interest to submit your valid application as early as possible. The following year’s January applications open on 1 March of the year preceding the entry year.

  • 22. Subject to item 20 above, we will send you an SMS or a letter to inform you of any offers that you have been extended by an institution to which you have applied. Try your best to have an email address to which we can send offer letters as institutions often have a cut-off date for your response. If the acceptance of the offer is not received by the institution within the stipulated cut-off period, the institution reserves the right to withdraw the offer.

  • 23. Offers to study may be withdrawn if:

  • 23.1 You don’t – within the period stipulated by the institution – tell the institution you want to accept the offer
  • 23.2 The conditions of the offer are not met
  • 23.3 The institution discovers that you have provided false information in your application, e.g. you have not declared that you have previously been registered or studied at that or another post school institution
  • 24. You will only receive either an email or SMS to inform you that you have been unsuccessful for any of the programme choices you applied for.

  • 25. Applicants should apply and pay on or before the published closing dates. Applicants may still apply after the programme closing date, but applications received after these dates will be considered as Late Applications and each institution has its own rules and procedures on how they deal with applications received after the programme closing date, e.g. your application may only be considered after all on-time applications have been considered and only if places are still available. Even though your application is received after the programme closing date and is considered as being late, you still only pay the on-time advertised administration fee until 31 October for 1st semester and 31 May for 2nd semester.

  • 26. Applications and/or administration fee for programmes that have reached or passed the advertised programme closing date and are advertised with the note No Applications will be considered if received after the closing date or receive the 'Applications Closed' status will not be considered by that institution.

  • 27. Unlike programmes, which may all have different programme closing dates, there is ONE date on which the LATE ADMINISTRATION FEE takes effect, i.e. 1 November for first semester programmes and 1 June for second semester programmes.

  • 28. If, after you have applied, you want to change your programme choices, or rearrange the order of your choices, you should do so online on our website (www.cao.ac.za) and click on the Change of Mind icon.

  • 29. A 'Change of Mind' is automatically processed immediately once the request and administration fee is received. See fee structure on page 24.

  • 30. Any number of programme changes/additions (up to six programmes) in the same Change of Mind Request is considered as one for payment purposes.

  • 31. If you submit qualification/programme changes/additions in more than one Change of Mind Request and/or at different times, each Change of Mind Request submission will be regarded as a separate request and an administration fee must be paid for each submission, not for each qualification/programme change.

  • 32. Payment/s for multiple COM Request submissions will be allocated and processed strictly in the sequence that the COM Request was received by CAO.

  • 33. If you have applied to study in Jan/Feb but did not register, you have an opportunity to extend your application to the next available entry term or year. This request, together with the COM administration fee, must reach the CAO by 31 March 2022. If you miss the deadline you will have to make a new application and pay the full administration fee.

  • 34. Every attempt has been made to ensure that the information in the annually published Handbook is accurate and up to date at the time of going to print. However, institutions continually update their programmes and entry requirements.

  • 35. During the course of the year, institutions may make new programmes available that were not finalised in time to be included in this Handbook – check our website www.cao.ac.za, mobile app, Facebook page or contact our Call Centre on 031 268 4444 or 0860 860 226 for updates.

  • 36. An entry in this Handbook/website/mobile app does not oblige the institution to offer the programme as institutions continually assess their programmes and may decide to discontinue programmes and/or change the minimum entrance requirements during an application cycle. If an institution discontinues a programme that is published in this Handbook/website/mobile app, the applicant may change such a programme at no cost.

  • 37. Specified entry requirements are guidelines used by institutions and each institution sets its own minimum entry requirements for each programme.

  • 38. Entry requirements published in the Handbook/website/mobile app are MINIMUM requirements for your application to be considered, and in most cases, the number of applications for a qualification/programme far exceeds the number of places that an institution has available for the qualification/programme. Therefore, while you may meet the published minimum entry requirements, it does not guarantee acceptance.

  • 39. All payments to the CAO are done through EasyPay or online at www.cao.ac.za. Click on My Application and follow the instructions. Card payments can also be made at the CAO’s office. The CAO office does not accept cash. See fee structure on page 24.

  • 40. Payments must be made to the correct CAO number. Once you have paid for an application, we cannot transfer the funds from one application to the next.

  • 41. CAO, its administration departments, staff or any affiliated persons who provide information to the institutions, public and or prospective students, provides such information, whether written or oral, in good faith. In the event that the public and/or prospective students act upon such information to their detriment, CAO shall not be liable for any loss, harm or damage (direct, consequential or special), or expense of any nature whatsoever, which may be suffered as a result of reliance on such information, the interpretation thereof or any references made thereto. CAO, to the best of its ability, attempt to ensure that the information provided is both true and correct, free from error, omission or misrepresentation, however, it does not warrant the aforesaid expressly or impliedly.

  • 42. The CAO reserves the right to vary, update or replace these Terms of Service as it continuously enhances and evolves its services.





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