An exploration of the challenges faced by students residing off-campus in rural universities in South Africa
The issue of students' housing cannot be ignored in the overall development process and master plan of the ivory tower of learning therefore the purpose of this study was to explore the challenges faced by students residing off-campus in a rural university in South Africa. The issue of students' housing cannot be ignored in the overall development process and master plan of the ivory tower of learning. The study also aimed to find out if staying off-campus has affected students who are residing off-campus at rural universities academically. Using qualitative approach, the study gathered narrative data from nine students who resides off-campus. An explorative design was employed for the study in this study and a purposive sampling procedure was employed to select students are residing off-campus. Data were collected through interviews with students at the University of Venda Thohoyandou, Vhembe District in the Limpopo Province and data were analysed qualitatively. The findings show that students who are staying off-campus are facing a plethora of challenges comprising of high rentals, unhygienic surrounding, long distances from the university, inability to access library services and lack of security both in the hostels as well as on their way to university as they risk being attacked by criminals. The study recommends that the government of South Africa funds the construction of more students’ hostels at the university and that the owners of out of campus hostel owners charge reasonable rentals that students walk in groups to protect themselves from would be criminals.
Keywords: Challenges, students, off-campus and rural universities