University accommodation crisis …landlords, students cash in from fresh students

Tertiary institutions are still reeling from lack of accommodation space on campus for fresh students as the 2019/2020 academic year begins, forcing some parents to buy beds for as high as GH¢4,000.

These beds are bought from either continuing students or some students who secured beds and paid for them but have since decided to join other universities, B&FT has gathered.

Some of the students who are unable to get campus-sited halls have had to look for accommodation in neighbouring towns and suburbs near where most traditional universities are sited.

Some private hostel owners charge between GH¢2,000 and GH¢4,000 per semester per student in a shared room of up to four (4) students.

The University of Professional Studies-Accra, for instance, has only one school-funded hostel; and that hotel can accommodate only 3,000 students. This compels the majority of students to look for private hostels as an alternative.

This has become a very lucrative business for private hostel owners around the UPSA environs; they are cashing in from the university’s inability to accommodate its students on campus.

Other private hotels operating within the University of Ghana environs, such as TF Hostel, Pentagon Hostel among others, also charge occupants around GH¢3,000.

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Most of the students who choose these expensive hostel, according to the B&FT sources, do so because they are left only with that option – not because they want a luxurious hostel to live in.

Those who cannot secure accommodation within the private hostels inside the University of Ghana also have to contend with the high cost of renting rooms in areas around the university.

This situation calls for urgent attention from government to start a rapid infrastructural development project across the major public universities.

Government’s inability to save the situation by 2020 will have dire consequences on the country’s tertiary education, as the country awaits its largest-ever number of applicants in 2020.

The reality is that this single batch of free SHS beneficiaries who will graduate next year are more in number than the entire student population of the 138 tertiary institutions in the country at the moment.

Management of public universities are unable to help the situation, because government has reduced its subvention to such institutions by more than 50 percent.

The University of Ghana, for instance, early this year warned that it might increase tuition fees as the university is under-funded by government – a situation that is affecting it finances.

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In recent times, most of the country’s public universities have had to depend on their internally generated funds to embark on infrastructural development.

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