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DBSA lends money to University of Venda for student housing

The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the University of Venda, have signed a R300-million loan agreement for the construction of on-campus student accommodation at the university’s Thohoyandou campus, in Limpopo.

With an estimated cost of R448-million, the project would be co-funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), which would provide R133-million, while the university itself would finance the remaining R15-million.

Once completed, the new student residences would accommodate some 1 800 students.

Over the next 10 to 15 years, the university envisaged providing between 50% and 80% of its total enrolment of about 12 000 students with on-campus accommodation.

University vice-chancellor and principal Professor Peter Mbati said the project was a demonstration of the university’s intention to tackle the shortage of on-campus accommodation.

“Once completed, the project will have a significant impact on increasing the proportion of students residing in on-campus accommodation from 18% of total enrolment to over 33%,” he commented.

This came as the DHET predicted enrolment rates at South African universities to rise from 17.3% in 2011, to 25% in 2030.

DBSA group executive of financing in South Africa Tshokolo Nchocho added that international research had indicated that on-campus student accommodation was a keysuccess factor in student performance and increased university throughput.

“The expected increase in student enrolments will require significant investment in higher education infrastructure. Given the current economic constraints on fiscal policy, as well as pressure on universities to keep student fee increases to a minimum, the infrastructure requirements of the country’s higher education sector will require innovative financing solutions,” he said.

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