This paper uses National Income Dynamic Survey (NIDS) data from 2008-2015, together with administrative data on South African schools and post-secondary institutions, to estimate the impact of home background, school quality and scholastic ability during a learner’s final years of schooling on enrolment in post-secondary education. We analyse enrolment patterns for each of three institution types separately, namely public universities, public Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, and private colleges. In light of government’s current policy to expand TVET colleges over the next two decades, we focus specifically on this institutional category. In particular, we investigate the role of financial constraints in the enrolment decision, in order to assess the viability of the plan to expand post-secondary education via the TVET sector. Through a series of multinomial logit regressions, we find that household income during matric year is highly significant in determining enrolment in all types of post-secondary institutions, including TVETs. Individual ability (as measured by numeracy test scores) is also important in explaining enrolment in both universities and TVETs, even after controlling for socio-economic background and school quality variables. These findings suggest that increasing the number of seats available at TVET colleges, without expanding funding opportunities and assessing the level of course content, is unlikely to result in the target of 2.5 million learners in TVET by 2030 being met.