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Students at EC universities face accommodation crisis

Last week the Walter Sisulu University management removed all students from residences at its Mthatha campus following protests.

An office at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Picture: nmmu.ac.za

CAPE TOWN – Students at two Eastern Cape universities could be facing an accommodation crisis as delays in financial aid have snarled up registration.

Last week the Walter Sisulu University management removed all students from residences at its Mthatha campus following protests over debt clearance and registration.

It’s understood issues in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) system have delayed registration at both Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).

Students at NMMU have resorted to sleeping in TV rooms, halls and squatting with friends as they are yet to be approved by Nsfas.

The university has indicated it has just over 3,200 beds for new and returning students at its Port Elizabeth and George campuses.

More than half have already been occupied by registered students while just over a thousand are reserved for those awaiting Nsfas approval.

Management will also house students off-campus but there are concerns that may not be enough accommodation.

At Walter Sisulu University, students unable to register because of historical debt have staged protests at the institution's various campuses.