NMMU has drastically increased its off-campus offerings while pursuing plans in meeting its own on-campus accommodation target of having 30% of its student body living on campus. Presently just over 12% of NMMU’s near-27 000 students live in residences on its North and South campuses.
Close to 3 800 beds are now available in accredited off-campus housing initiatives forged by the university in recent years, including 21 large properties throughout the metro.
“We’re doing what we can to fill the housing needs gap, especially since many of our students cannot afford expensive private rentals,” says NMMU’s off-campus and vacation accommodation manager Shirani Nhlangwini.
The focus on establishing private partnerships means that this year fewer out-of-town students have struggled to find reasonably-priced accommodation.
NMMU also opened a new 312-bed residence early last year bringing the on-campus total to over 2500 student beds on four of its six campuses.
According to Ms Nhlangwini, NMMU has accredited 21 big properties (3304 beds) and about 60 small properties (420 beds) for 2015. The bulk of the big properties are in Central, with four in North End and Sydenham and many smaller properties in the Summerstrand, Humewood, Forest Hill area adjacent to the university.
She said NMMU had also accredited properties in Kwa-Magxaki, Zwide, Walmer and Newton Park.
NMMU Director of Student Housing Dr Shuping Mpuru says the university no longer has a waiting list because they as are able to immediately refer students to facilities that have received the university’s stamp of approval.
He said that receiving accreditation from NMMU followed a stringent process in line with municipal land usage rulings.
The accommodation in question has to be equal or better than the NMMU on-campus residences in terms of quality and appearance. Single rooms should be no smaller than 9 m2 and double rooms no smaller than 14 m2 and contain all the basic necessities.In addition, NMMU’s landlord partners must provide efficient security, Internet services either via fibre optic cable or Wi-Fi and a study centre equipped with computer facilities. A printer must be provided in every site accommodating more than 20 students.
According to Ms Nhlangwini, NMMU Student Housing has, through the university’s legal office, a contract in place with each accredited off-campus establishment and facilitates the payment of rent for some students.
“The university facilitates payments for NSFAS-funded students. Our cash paying/private students make payments directly to service providers. We also ensure through the agreement that NMMU’s Living and Learning programmes are implemented in the off-campus accommodation.”
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