30 May 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Rian Horn
South Campus residence
UFS Housing and Residence Affairs leads transformation for university culture to improve student experience and Accommodation

The University of the Free State (UFS) Department of Housing and Residence Affairs (HRA) wants to ensure quality and affordable accommodation on and off campus for UFS students through the ITP.

The development of the ITP at the UFS started in January 2017; areas of transformation were identified, of which HRA’s deliverables are as follows:

• A detailed ‘as-is’ study to understand the issues faced by students regarding on- and off-campus accommodation and quantification of the accommodation gap.
• Development of a strategy to create residences with an academic focus, and the full implications regarding numbers and costing.
• Setting of minimum transport and safety standards for students.
• Development of an approach to student accommodation that is affordable for the students and entails optimal cost to the university.
• A strategy for postgraduate, postdoctoral, and international students.
• Gender-inclusive housing.

Mr Quintin Koetaan, Senior Director of HRA, and President of ACUHO-I SAC, started a project to ensure that NSFAS-funded and other UFS students are afforded quality accommodation on and off campus. Mr Koetaan was also appointed by NSFAS to convert this into a national project. This project includes engagements with different role players such as municipalities, national and provincial officials, the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, NSFAS, and private off-campus accommodation service providers.

The decision by the UFS to increase the percentage of first-time entering students living on campus, was welcomed by HRA, and is being implemented and managed to address HRA’s ITP deliverables.  As a result of the increased percentage, senior students would be moved to affordable, accredited off-campus accommodation, with available transportation.

HRA’s aim is to ensure that students experience the wholesomeness and joy of being a UFS student, by making provision for their diverse on- and off-campus needs.