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How does Student Accommodation Work?

How does Student Accommodation Work?

Informative  |  Feb 14th 23

Have you been accepted to your chosen university but still need clarification about student accommodation? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Your choice of student accommodation will play a massive role in your tertiary education journey.

So, it’s essential that you know exactly how the process works, what your options are, and what things you need to keep in mind when you make a decision.

Here we have all the information you need to get started on your search for the perfect student housing.

What is Student Accommodation?

Student accommodation is your residence during your university life. It’s the place where you’ll eat, study, and pull all-nighters in preparation for your exams and basically where you’ll be spending most of your time after your classes.

What are the different types of student accommodation?

Before you decide on your student accommodation, you should be informed of the different types.

1.    University Dormitories

University dormitories are buildings that the university owns and uses for housing students. These are mostly on-campus, so students don’t have to struggle with daily commuting. The buildings and rooms are allotted randomly to the students.

Most universities have the student pay for a whole year, involving no additional expenses except parking.

However, these buildings may be old and poorly maintained and requests to be placed in a specific building will not be entertained.

2.    Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA)

These are private buildings specially built to house students off campus (although in very close proximity) and let you choose the room you want to stay in, according to your budget. Besides, PBSAs have premium facilities to make students as comfortable as possible.

These facilities include TV rooms, social programmes, clubs, shared kitchens and more. Students prefer PBSAs because they give more choices regarding location and amenities without compromising the academic environment.

3.    Private Housing

Another option for student housing is to rent a house or flat you can share with other students. This would mean that the rent, utility bills, and chores would be split amongst the roommates.

Though this option provides more freedom to the student, it lacks the intellectual environment and security that come with PBSAs and university-owned dorms.

Where and how to find Student Accommodation?

Most universities have a department that helps students to find accommodation, be it on or off campus.

Apart from that, here are more things you can do for each type of student accommodation.

For University-Owned Housing or Residences

Contact the relevant department for university housing to discuss the fees, included facilities, and additional charges. Universities will often arrange visits for you to view the buildings before you make a decision.


All PBSAs have detailed outlines and contact information on their websites. These details include rents, rules, and different programs that the PBSA conducts for the personal growth of its students.

Make sure to check each PBSAs distance from your chosen university because you don’t want to travel far each day to class. The extensive commute will only add to your study stress.

For Private Housing

The best option to search for a house or flat is to contact a real estate agent. These agents will probably know different landlords willing to rent their flats or houses to students.

Ensure that the residence you choose is in a safe neighbourhood, preferably near the university, and also enquire if the agent knows more students who would be willing to share the place with you.

Research shows that students' satisfaction with their housing depended on security, the physical construction of the accommodation, surrounding noise level, and the number of accommodation rules.

Who should apply for Student Accommodation

The following people should definitely consider student accommodation.

Someone who will be studying away from home in another city or country

Someone who wants a complete student life which is usually compromised when you choose to live with your parents

Someone who wants a sense of independence and to prepare for their adult life in the practical world

Someone who wants a studious environment where they have the company of other students

How to Apply

Here is a list of all the steps to apply for student accommodation.

  1. Make a list of all your student housing needs, like wifi, parking, sports facilities, air conditioning, etc.

  2. Narrow down your accommodation options based on your requirements and budget.

  3. Start visiting your shortlisted accommodations to really experience what all you’ll have to deal with in each housing option.

  4. Finalise your accommodation and submit the needed applications and forms.

What about Bursaries?

Almost all universities offer bursaries and you can visit sites such as an online platform with a comprehensive list of South African bursaries. South Point has have a group of accredited bursaries, to find out if your bursary is on our list drop us an email at

What about NSFAS?

Public universities offer NSFAS to students meeting the requirements. Some of South Point buildings are accredited with NSFAS while others are head leased to certain universities such as CPUT and MUT. South Point accept NSFAS students with no top up for sharing rooms. Visit for more information.

Who is South Point Accredited with?

South Point is accredited with all major tertiary educational institutions in South Africa. The PBSA also frequently engages with its stakeholders to make critical decisions regarding its operation, security initiatives, and development.

The combined effort of all these partners makes South Point one of the leading PBSAs in South Africa, with accommodations in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Pretoria, and Gqeberha.

Why Choose South Point?

South Point is dedicated not only to giving you the best living experience but also to your personal growth. The PBSA has all sorts of clubs to bring out your creativity and arranges social events so you can have a complete student life that can be seen for yourself.

Its academy sets South Point apart from all other PBSAs in South Africa. The academy was started especially to help students with their professional growth.

Students can apply for traineeships and internships to add to their resumes and get professional experience.

Also, South Point takes strict security precautions, making it one of the most secure PBSAs in South Africa.

If you want to opt for a state-of-the-art PBSA, you should definitely check out South Point.

Just get in touch with us!

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