Please Note: Some Institutions may request additional documents.
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, IEB and SACAI examinations, i.e. certified by UMALUSI.
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.
2. The CAO reserves the right to vary, update or replace these Terms of Service as it continuously enhances and evolves its Services.
3. You are encouraged to apply online at www.cao.ac.za or via the mobile App as your application is immediately available to the institution/s to which you have applied if you apply and pay the administration fee online.
3.1. If you apply online or via the mobile App and pay via EasyPay your application is available to the institution/s as soon as we receive your payment, which is generally the day following your payment.
3.2. 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.
4. Complete and submit your application to us as soon as possible. Preferably online using our website (www.cao.ac.za) or our Mobile App.
5. 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.
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 to which you have applied. Try not to email or post documents to us as it considerably delays the time before it becomes available to the institutions to which you have applied.
6.1. Ensure that documents are clear and legible. Illegible documents could delay or jeopardise the selection process at institutions.
7. Institutions inform 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 name and surname you use on your application form is exactly the same as the one you use when you register for your Final Grade 12 Examination. If it differs, we will not be able to download your final examination results from the Department of Basic Education (DBE) database and match them to your application information at the institution.
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 become 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 has been received. Applicant and application information are available to institutions only once these terms and conditions have been met.
11. Administration and Change of Mind fees are not refundable.
12. Please provide the correct email address and cellphone number as all messages are sent to you via SMS and/or Email.
13. All letters are sent to you via email. We can only communicate messages to you if you have provided your correct and up-to-date cellphone number. We can only send you letters if you have provided us with your correct and up-to-date email address. The cellphone 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.
14. At least four weeks after we receive your valid application, we will send you an Acknowledgement Letter by email in which we acknowledge that we have received and processed your application. Applicants are encouraged to use a valid email address for communication since this is the quickest and most reliable way that you will receive letters. See Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, 2002 on www.gov.za regarding emailed documents.
15. 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.
16. If you do not inform us of errors, omissions, or changes within two weeks after we have sent you the Acknowledgement Letter, we shall accept that all the information in the Acknowledgement Letter is correct and as complete as you want it to be..
17. If you have not received an Acknowledgement Letter within four weeks after you have applied, please enquire if the CAO has received your application. (Click on the ‘Contact Us’ tab or see page 3 of our latest handbook for contact details).
18. We provide your information to institutions electronically. The institutions have full and final responsibility for selection and admission decisions, not the CAO.
19. 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.
20. 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.
21. 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.
22. Offers to study may be withdrawn if:
• You don’t – within the period stipulated by the institution – tell the institution you want to accept the offer or;
• The conditions of the offer are not met; and/or
• The institution discovers that you have provided false information in your application, e.g. you have not declared that you have previously studied at that or another institution.
23. 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..
24. Applicants should apply and pay on or before the published closing dates. 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 closing date.
25. 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 OR you may complete a Change of Mind Request Form (COM).
26. A COM will only be processed once we have received the COM administration fee (Click on ‘Administration Fee Structure’ on the home page or see page 22 of our latest handbook for fee the structure).
27. Any number of programme changes/additions (up to six programmes) on the same Change of Mind Request Form is considered as one for payment purposes.
28. If you submit qualification/programme changes/additions on more than one Change of Mind Request Form and/or at different times, each Change of Mind Request Form submission will be regarded as a separate request and an administration fee must be paid for each submission, not for each qualification/programme change.
29. Payment/s for multiple COM Request Form submissions will be allocated and processed strictly in the sequence that the COM Request Forms were received by CAO.
30. 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. If you miss the deadline you will have to make a new application and pay the full administration fee.
31. Every attempt has been made to ensure that the information in this Handbook is accurate and up to date at the time of going to print. However, institutions continually update their programmes and entry requirements.
32. During the course of the year, institutions may make available new programmes that were not finalised in time to be included in our Handbook – check our website www.cao.ac.za, Mobile App, Facebook page or contact our Call Centre on 0860 860 226 or 031 268 4444 for updates.
33. An entry in our Handbook or on our 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 the Handbook or on the website/Mobile App, the applicant may change such a programme at no cost.
34. Specified entry requirements are guidelines used by institutions and each institution sets its own minimum entry requirements for each programme.
35. 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.
36. 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.
37. 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, attempts to ensure that the information provided is both true and correct, free from error, omission or misrepresentation, however does not warrant the aforesaid expressly or impliedly.