About the Journal




Focus and Scope

The Journal of Student Affairs in Africa (JSAA) considers theoretical, practice-relevant, and reflective contributions from across the scholarly field of Student Development and professional domains of Student Development/Student Affairs, taking due cognizance that the scope is broad, fluid and context dependent.

The scope of JSAA is indicated by keywords such as: student affairs, student career development, student counselling, student development theory and research, student discipline, student engagement, student experience, student finances and financial aid, student housing, disability/disabled students, student leadership and governance, student life cycle, student living and learning, student movement, student organisations, student orientation, student policy, student politics and activism, student sport, student support, academic development (and its intersection with the student affairs co-curriculum), graduate attributes, and teaching and learning support. This list of keywords is not exhaustive. Our key focus area is the core functions of student affairs and services in Africa.

Peer Review Process

The Journal of Student Affairs in Africa affirms diverse forms of scholarly engagement and diversity in terms of themes and perspectives, paradigmatic, disciplinary and methodological approaches and contexts of scholarship and application. It considers for publication submissions of original scholarly research-based articles, reflective discussions by practitioners, book reviews and professional notices, such as  conference calls.

Submissions are encouraged from scholars and reflective practitioners from across the globe. Submissions must be relevant to the mission, aims and scope of the Journal. Especially encouraged are submissions from African scholars and professionals working in higher education on the African continent.

Submissions dealing with student development issues from other contexts (e.g. the African Diaspora, other emerging economies) that are transferable to the African context are also considered for publication.

The editorial and peer review policy adheres to the ASSAf National Code of Best Practice in Editorial Discretion and Peer Review for South African Scholarly Journals (ASSAf Council, 2008). All submitted manuscripts undergo an initial careful examination by members of the Editorial Executive Committee to ensure authors’ submissions conform to best practice. Qualifying scholarly research-based articles and reflective practitioner articles are blindly reviewed by at least two peer reviewers, who would typically be members of the International Editorial Board of the Journal.

Peer reviewers have proven scholarly and/or professional expertise in the subject matter of a manuscript. They are required to provide an objective judgement on the merits of a manuscript, point out the merits and propose ways of improving a manuscript including pointing to relevant published work that is not cited. Reviewers should not have any conflict of interest and must treat all manuscripts confidentially.

Reviewer reports are assessed by the Editorial Executive Committee and form the basis of any decision by the Executive on how to proceed with a manuscript.

Publication Frequency

JSAA is published twice a year by the JSAA Editors in collaboration with Stellenbosch University Library and Information Services and AFRICAN SUN MeDIA.

Open Access Policy

The Journal of Student Affairs in Africa is an Open Access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, as underwritten by the license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author.

Publication Ethics and Publication

The editorial and peer review policy of JSAA adheres to the Code of Best Practice in Editorial Discretion and Peer Review for South African Scholarly Journals (Academy of Sciences of SA Council/ASSAf 2008).

Information on the Editorial Executive and International Editorial Advisory Board, Authors Guidelines, Peer Review Policy and Process, Copyright and Access, Archiving, Ownership and Management of the Journal and related Journal Information are all available on this website.

For any further information or clarification, please contact the journal manager at jsaa_editor@outlook.clom 


African Journals Online (AJOL)

The Journal of Student Affairs in Africa is indexed and co-hosted by African Journals Online (AJOL). AJOL is the world's largest and pre-eminent collection of peer-reviewed, African-published scholarly journals. See http://www.ajol.info/index.php/jssa

SA-accredited journal

Since 2017, JSAA is a fully accredited scholarly journal listed in the South African list of journals maintained by the Department of Higher Education and Training. This means that all peer reviewed articles (i.e. research articles and reflective practice articles) published in Vol. 5 and following by South Africa-based researchers qualify for national research output subsidy in line with the South African Higher Education Funding Framework.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

The Journal of Student Affairs in Africa is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. According to DOAJ (2015, website): "The aim of the DOAJ is to increase the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific and scholarly journals, thereby promoting their increased usage and impact. The DOAJ aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use a quality control system to guarantee the content. In short, the DOAJ aims to be the one-stop shop for users of open access journals.


Open Access Journal: We define open access journals as journals that use a funding model that does not charge readers or their institutions for access. From the BOAI definition of "open access", we support the rights of users to "read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles" as mandatory for a journal to be included in the directory.

Quality Control System: The journal must exercise peer-review or editorial review (particularly in the Humanities), led by an editor, or an editor and an editorial board.

Research Journal: Journals that report primary results of research or overviews of research results to a scholarly community.

Periodical: A serial appearing, or intending to appear, indefinitely at regular intervals and generally more frequently than annually, each issue of which is numbered or dated consecutively and normally contains separate articles, stories, or other writings.


Author Fees

JSAA is a diamond open access journal. Authors publish free of charge; there are no processing or page fees. Please register for alerts about new issues and opportunities.

Digital Preservation

Journal of Student Affairs in Africa. This journal is in the process of migrating from the Stellenbosch University preservation platform to the PKP PN (Preservation Network) platform.


This journal programme cannot read the ORCID iD.  Please do not add it when you Register or when submitting a paper.

After Registration, can you Edit your Profile and then insert the ORCID iD, or please send your ORCiD ID, along with the name of the journal to, scholar@sun.ac.za to add to your Profile.

Stellenbosch University researchers/authors can create an ORCID iD here.

ORCID iD is a persistent, unique, numeric identifier for individual researchers and creators. It distinguishes you from researchers and creators with the same or similar names.  ORCID iD is similar to ResearcherID, Scopus Author ID, ISNI and other systems for identifying and distinguishing researchers and creators.


The Journal of Student Affairs in Africa is published for the Society for the Professionalization of Student Affairs in Africa (SPSAA) in partnership with various organisations.

Sources of Support

JSAA is a not-for-profit, scholarly and professional journal that is supported by its sponsoring organisations, donors and voluntary contributions of supporters, as well as the work of volunteers.

Journal History

Along with the revitalization of African higher education and the increasing massification of public and private universities and colleges across the continent, the co-curricular, in-curricular, and institutional practice of student development is experiencing an incipient professionalization in Africa. Postgraduate, Master’s and Doctoral-level programmes in Higher Education Studies, in parts focused on the training of researchers and professionals with interest or involved in student affairs, have sprung up in African universities including University Eduardo Mondlane (Mozambique), Makerere University (Uganda), the University of the Free State, University of Johannesburg, University of KwaZulu-Natal and University of the Western Cape (South Africa).

At the time of the conceptualisation and establishment of the journal in 2012/13, at the University of the Western Cape alone, there were collaborations in postgraduate training in higher education studies with the University of Oslo (Norway) in the format of the Higher Education Masters in Africa (HEMA) programme, which succeeded the earlier PALM Masters involving other regional institutions such as the University of Cape Town. Moreover, the University of the Western Cape collaborated with California State University, Fullerton, in offering a PhD programme in Student Affairs with the potential to accelerate knowledge production and the training of researchers and professional leaders in student affairs. Simultaneously, new and existing centers of research – including the Centre for Higher Education and Development, Maputo; the Institute for Post-School Studies at UWC; the Centre for Higher Education Transformation, Cape Town – made increasing efforts to develop the body of knowledge and expertise necessary for the rapid expansion of higher education research in Africa. These efforts were supported by the Higher Education Research and Advocacy Network in Africa (HERANA) and its funders, which brought together higher education researchers, institutional managers and national policy role-players across the continent in major research and training projects. HERANA included a focus on African student-centered institutional research in its project on Higher Education, Democracy and Student Development.

This trend was underpinned by a growing recognition among university leadership of the need for professionally qualified and discipline based scholars and practitioners in student affairs to deal with increasing demands for professional student development services and evidence-based policy making.

It was within this context that the new Journal of Student Affairs in Africa (JSAA) was conceptualised in 2012 by Dr TM Luescher, Ms Tonia Overmeyer and Dr Birgit Schreiber to contribute to the professionalization of student affairs in African higher education. JSAA was conceived to make this contribution by publishing scholarly articles, research and reflective discussions by academics, professionals and researchers about student affairs in African higher education. In the course of 2012 the team of initial founders expanded to include scholars from across Africa and beyond, who shared this vision and contribute to the success of the journal. The academic publisher, African Minds, came on board to take on JSAA as an 'incubator journal' to support it financially and operationally to the point where it would be a fully-fledged, recognised academic journal. In addition, the leadership of the University of the Western Cape, and particularly Prof Lullu Tshiwula in her capacity as then Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Affairs supported the project of establishing the journal. JSAA eventually became one of only two journals hosted by the University of the Western Cape Library's e-Publications division in 2012, publishing its launch issue in December 2013.

In 2015, JSAA was included in the Directorate of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) as a fully indexed, bona-fide OA journal. In 2016, JSAA was included in African Journals Online (AJOL) and thus became indexed in the largest collection of quality Africa-published scholarly journals. In 2017, ERIC started to fully-index the journal and avail it on its search engine. 

From 2017, JSAA became a fully accredited, subsidy-earning scholarly journal recognised by the South African Department of Higher Education and Training on the the DHET accredited journals list.

The Journal of Student Affairs in Africa is an independent, peer-reviewed multi-disciplinary journal that serves as a key platform of publication for articles of high quality and relevance for researchers and professionals in student affairs in Africa. JSAA is published twice a year since 2013. The Editorial Team, led by respected academics and professionals in the student affairs field, is determined to make the aim of JSAA to be "the foremost scholarly and professional journal dealing with the theory and practice of student affairs in universities in Africa" a reality.