Make hostel accommodation affordable for students

Accra, June 30, GNA- Hostel fees in Accra and other capitals have for the past months witnessed a significant rise in most of the tertiary institutions, a Ghana News Agency (GNA) random sampling has revealed.

While caretakers of some of the hostels blame the situation on high cost of goods, services and utilities, students are also alarmed that it could truncate their educational progress.

A visit by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) to some of the hostels confirmed the allegations.

At Alberto hostel at Osu, close to GIJ, GNA realized that fees had moved from GHS 1,500 to GHS 1,700 for two persons in a room and 1,100 to 1,500 for four people in a room respectively, per semester.

In “Amalia” Hostel at Madina, fees have also increased from GHS 1000 to 1,200 per semester, with management indicating that there could be further increments.

A visit to other hostels indicated that Caretakers were tight-lipped on their fees, but indicated that increases resulted from high cost of goods and services.

This development has not only created tension among tertiary students, but also placed huge financial burdens of parents who were working tooth and nail to pay for both academic and hostel fees of their wards.

A hostel owner popularly known as Alhaaji at Najinaram Hostel Okponglo, located behind the Ecobank, said it was because of the high standard of living and the persistent increases in building materials and utilities that influenced his decision to increase fees.

However, Alhaji promised not to put pressure on students to pay, since he was also a parent and understood that some students fended for themselves.

“If not for continuous increase in goods and services, there would not be a need to increase the price of hostel accommodations. Yet as human as I am and as a parent, I understand, that some students live an independent life. Hence, I will be patient with them to pay”, he explained.

At the University of Ghana, hostel fees ranged from GHS 1,500 to GHS 5000 yearly depending on the halls and preference of the students.

There are 14 halls and two hostels available to all students.

The halls are Legon hall, (male and female) Akuafo hall, (male and female) Volta Hall (female), Mensah Sabah Hall (male and female), Bani Hall, African Union Hall, and James top Nelson Yankah Hall

For instance, in 2021 and 2022, all Ghanaian fresh students who were admitted as residents would have to pay an additional GHS 100 as a levy for generator.

In UPSA for four in a room, students are expected to pay a total of GHS 30.00 as hall dues and GHS 20.00 as UPSA hostel initial electricity credit.

For two in a room students are to pay GHS1, 510.00 including GHS30.00 as hall dues and GHS 40.00 as UPSA hostel initial electricity credit.

Hostels and halls at UDS range from Ghc700.00 for four in a room to GHS 2000.00 for one in a room.

Hostels on campus, compared to the ones in town are more affordable.

The major reason students seek lodging in town is mostly because there is not enough space.

Jemima, a level 300 student at university of Ghana, said that she preferred accommodation in town rather than the ones on campus for peace of mind and privacy, and it was mostly because campus hostels were mostly full.

“Town hostels are expensive these days, nevertheless I prefer here to the campus hostel because I find peace of mind here, she said.

Jemima pleaded to hostel owners and caretakers to take it easy with them and try to accept payment in installment and again make things affordable for them.

Research has proven that hostel facilities in Kumasi (Ashanti region) are more expensive, but it looked clear that students in Accra were not finding it easy.

Meanwhile, students on campus are also finding issues with accommodation. It is more like “first come, first served”. The rooms get full quickly and are expensive too.

Students’ Representative Council of the institutions, the GNA visited have all pleaded to the authorities to help build more hostel facilities and to make hostel fees affordable for them.

Source: Ghana News Agency