A stampede of students desperate for college admission in South Africa has led to the killing of one woman and the injury of several others when the University of Johannesburg opened its gate on Tuesday.

University officials told the media that the woman killed is the mother of a prospective student.

Approximately 85,000 students had applied for the some 11,000 seats that were available at the University of Johannesburg, university officials told the media. This is almost 20,000 more applicants than last year.

The students who were involved in the stamped were all hoping they could secure one of fewer than 1,000 last-minute seats available for the incoming class.

The main application deadline had passed in June, ABC and Agence France-Presse reported.

The death has shed light on the fact that South Africa's higher education system is overstretched as there are more students seeking too few seats at public universities. The crowd began gathering on Monday.

The Boston Globe reported that South Africa's education minister, Blade Nzimande, has admitted that there weren't enough university seats for everyone who wanted to secure one. Nzimande also the government had plans to expand higher education.

They were pushing and pushing,'' said Katleho Mphatsoe, 18, from Soweto. The Globe reported that Mphatsoe arrived at 4:30 a.m. in order to try to register for an accounting degree. Even the gates fell over. Many people were injured.''

ABC and AFP reported that most of the students who gathered at the university are from poor families and that they had scored high enough on national exams to be considered for higher education. Additionally, many poor students only apply to university after they know their results in order to ensure their application fee wasn't uselessly spent.

When we opened the gates this morning; we had this unfortunate, this very sad situation, where there was simply an unbearable crush on the front entrance, vice chancellor Ihron Rensburg told the media.

Education has to be one of the largest segments of state spending for years, according to the ABC/AFP news article. It accounts some 20 per cent of the budget and is seen as underperforming because South Africa's schools are near the bottom in global rankings.