This study explores the development and implementation of a tuition policy at the ‘single dedicated distance education institution in South Africa,’ which is the University of South Africa. The discussion focuses specifically on ‘how different stakeholders participated in the development and implementation of the Unisa tuition policy’. In this context, the author contends that the development and implementation of an institutional tuition policy is influenced by various factors relating to the determination of the roles to be played by various stakeholders in the process. A broader consideration is whether or not and how tuition policy development and implementation influence teaching and learning in distance education. The perspective taken in this study necessarily includes the different acts and policy documents that focus on the development of the higher education sector in South Africa, which consequently influence the practice and experience of distance education. The main findings of the study concur with the notion that there is contention in terms of Unisa tuition policy development and implementation, which leads to a measure of reluctance to implement the policy. Furthermore, the implementation has not been as effective as it might have been, and this defeats the purpose of the policy, which is to promote effective teaching and learning in distance education. The data derived from the investigation partly support this study’s concern that the development and implementation of this policy depend on participants’ and stakeholders’ mental models. The findings also show that the contention regarding the determination of roles in the development and implementation has negative impacts on the effectiveness of teaching and learning at Unisa, which may not be very obvious to the stakeholders involved. Crucially, it was also found that the stakeholders could not separate their institutional roles and positions from their roles in policy development and implementation. It is in the context of these findings that the author recommends that policy development and implementation for effective teaching and learning should critically define the institutional roles of those engaged in policy development and implementation in a distance education institution such as Unisa.