University students are facing an uphill battle with accommodation - a challenge universities struggle to overcome. Picture: David Ritchie African News Agency (ANA)
University students are facing an uphill battle with accommodation - a challenge universities struggle to overcome. Picture: David Ritchie African News Agency (ANA)

University students are facing an uphill battle with accommodation

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Jan 14, 2020

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Cape Town - University students are facing an uphill battle with accommodation - a challenge universities struggle to overcome.

UCT spokesperson Nombuso Shabalala said it had received 16000 applications for the 6700 spaces available on campus for new and returning students for this year.

Shabalala said the university made 4500 housing offers to first-time undergraduates.

“Students who have not yet been placed in a residence were offered accommodation and will be placed in another UCT residence or in a leased off-campus residence,” she said.

Students who arrived without a housing offer would be offered overnight accommodation, Shabalala said

“Space is then checked in the leased off-campus residences or they are assisted through the university’s Off-Campus Student Accommodation Services (Ocsas).”

CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said the lack of student accommodation was a perennial issue across the higher education landscape.

However, at CPUT, it should be significantly alleviated this year, she said.

“CPUT has secured roughly 3000 new beds for the new year. This means we have increased our bed total from 29% to 38% in 2020,” Kansley said.

She said they were also doing a mass bed replacement of 2330 beds out of a total 5000.

“So many incoming students will be sleeping on brand new beds and mattresses this year.”

Stellenbosch University has about 8000 beds in residences, spokesperson Martin Viljoen said.

About 2300 beds are available for first year students on the Stellenbosch and Tygerberg campuses.

Viljoen said about 8000 first years who received a provisional offer from the university applied for residence.

“All spaces have been allocated to qualifying students (new and returning) and all students have been informed of their residence status.

“The university is also prioritising first-time entering students who have received the National Student Financial Aid Scheme aid to provide the necessary access to higher education.”

He said the university collaborated with private providers for additional private accredited accommodation.

“We have a long waiting list from students who are still looking for university-provided accommodation.”

Viljoen said SU worked closely with the private accredited providers to provide additional accommodation.

UWC acting spokesperson, Nashira Davids, said the institution constantly explored models and options to secure additional accommodation.

Davids said the issue required collaboration of a number of stakeholders - in government and in the private sector.

She said currently, the university had 3390 bed spaces, consisting of double and single rooms.

@SISONKE_MD

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Cape Argus

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