Central Application Office (CAO) – How To Apply And Track Status

What Is CAO

CAO is an independent body that helps students and both universities reach a compromise where an application is made through their platform whereas the University also receives the said application through that same platform. In simple terms,  it is an application platform that helps students apply to their choice of University. 

The Central Application Office since its inception has acted as an intermediary for both students and all tertiary institutions. Top-notch tertiary schools including the likes of Unizulu,  among others use the CAO application portal to accept applications to their institution. 

List Of Tertiary Schools On The List Of CAO 

Though CAO has numerous higher tertiary institutions under its belt, it only has four South African Universities on the list of its membership partners. These include Durban University, Mangosuthu University of Technology, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and the University of Zululand. Other tertiary schools part of their membership scheme are listed below

  • AAA School of Advertising
  • Berea College of Technology
  • Berea Technical College
  • CTU Training Solutions
  • Central Technical College 
  • Durban University of Technology
  • Embury Institute for Higher Education
  • Elangeni TVET College
  • Majuba TVET College
  • Umfolozi TVET College
  • Thekwini TVET College
  • Esayidi TVET College
  • Institute for Quality Education, Training and Development
  • iStudent
  • University of Kwazulu-Natal
  • Pax College
  • Regent Business School
  • Richfield Graduate Institute of Technology
  • Rosebank College
  • Southern Business School
  • Springfield FET College
  • Varsity College: Part-Time Division
  • University of Zululand
  • Management and Leadership Academy
  • Mangosuthu University of Technology
  • Oval International College
  • PC Training and Business College
  • Pearson Institute of Higher Education

CAO Application fee

As much as CAO is helping students apply to their preferred tertiary institution, the independent organization has a fee that is charged to each applicant during application. 

During your application, an applicant would be asked to select their payment preference. Though CAO application varies, it normally ranges from R250 upwards. 

NB: All application fees paid are not refundable.  

How To Apply With  CAO For A Higher Education

Application through the Central Application office is quite easy and simple. A valid email address would help one use the CAO system to apply for their preferred higher tertiary institution. Below are stages outlined to help an applicant apply with the central application office. 


Kindly visit the Central Application Office (CAO) website via https://www.cao.ac.za/ 


After the website has fully loaded, click on ‘’APPLY NOW’’


Provide basic information would be needed as part of the application


Provided your email address


Click on the qualification you would want to apply


Create a login password

How To Track Your Central Application Office Application 

After helping students apply for the various institutional programs under their belt, Central Application Office also has designed a nice path for all applicants to track their application status. 

Below are steps that applicants must use to track their application status with CAO

1. Visit CAO’s official website; https://cao.ac.za/ 

2. Scroll your mouse cursor and click on “CHECK MY APPLICATION”

3. Provide any of the following credentials by selecting the one you have in your possessions at the time you are tracking your application (CAO number, ID number and passport number)

4. Click submit to view your application status. 


CAO Contact

If at any moment an applicant wants to reach out to the Central Application Office concerning issues regarding their application or anything CAO can do so by phone or email. 

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (031) 268 4444 or Share Call: 086 0860 CAO / 086 0860 226

You can also follow them on social media via Facebook and twitter. 

Facebook: @CentralApplicationsOffice

Twitter: @CAOKZN

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