MOST first-year students enrolled at the Midlands State University (MSU) for the first semester that started on Monday had their joy cut short when they failed to secure accommodation on campus.
The students have been busy looking for accommodation in Gweru as the university grapples with a serious housing crisis.
A first-year student who identified herself as Grace said she had failed to secure accommodation on campus and was looking for options close to the college.
“I have been scouting for alternative accommodation in suburbs near the college.
“Landlords charge exorbitant prices, but I do not have an option. I have nowhere else to go so I will just have to pay those high rentals,” she said.
Property owners in the high-density suburbs of Senga and Nehosho are cashing in on the accommodation crisis at MSU by converting their houses into hostels where they charge each student $100 per month. Up to four students share a standard room.
Home owners in low-density suburbs have posted flyers all over town offering “quality” accommodation to students.
One hostel was offering students bedding, a kitchen with four-plate stoves, fridges and study rooms with tables and chairs for $85 per room a month, inclusive of water and electricity. Students find it hard to acquire accommodation at the campus since first preference is given to those who pay fees in full.
“There is limited accommodation available and it shall be offered on a first-come-first-served basis upon payment of full fees,” MSU announced in its August 2014 intake statement.
With an enrolment of close to 20 000 students, MSU can only provide accommodation to 3 000 on campus.
Most students who live outside campus cannot use facilities like libraries or even social amenities like sports grounds because their time on campus is limited by the need commute to and from their rented accommodation.