Advice and Opinion

Lack of student accommodation becomes a critical factor across South Africa

Property companies and academic institutions across the country have noted the shortfall for student housing. Business Day reported that more than 207,000 university students and 400, 000 students in (FET) institutions will not be able to find adequate housing when the academic year begins in 2015. As a result, student accommodation across South Africa is in a critical shortfall.

Many students end up settling in unsafe and dreadful conditions, which are not conducive to studying. The challenge is that most university residences can barely accommodate 30% of their student population and most students who come from rural areas find themselves without accommodation as soon as they arrive in Johannesburg.

Craig McMurray, CEO at Respublica, one of the country’s largest providers of student accommodation, says that we may be nearing the end of 2014, but it’s just the beginning of the planning for the 2015 academic year. Many students come from disadvantaged environments, and they are unaccustomed to the challenges and pressures that come along with moving to a big city university simply because they may make inappropriate accommodation choices.

“One of the main reasons that students drop out of universities has less to do with their academic aptitude, or their commitment to their studies – but more to do with what happens in their lives when they’re outside the lecture hall or laboratory, and where they live plays a significant role in their probability of success,” says McMurray.