Landlords demand US$ payments from MSU students
Landlords in Senga and Nehosho suburbs in Gweru, who offer lodgings to Midlands State University (MSU) off-campus students, are now charging monthly rentals in United States dollars.
The move has been met with resistance from parents and guardians of the students who are accusing the accommodation owners of being greedy as they take advantage of the shortage of on-campus accommodation at MSU.
A survey by this publication showed that new accommodation prices now range from US$35 to US$75 per room when sharing.
Previously, the students were paying $75 in bond notes or eco-cash per head.
A room without a bed costs US$35, while that with a bed costs US$45 per head. Houses with extra luxuries like wifi, geyser and solar panels or a generator are ranging at US$55 per head.
Lessons at MSU commenced on Monday.
In an interview, Mrs Sharon Ndlovu from Bulawayo, who has a child doing first year, said she was shocked by the US dollars prices, a development she said was making higher learning expensive.
“Things have changed now, most landlords are demanding US dollar which is difficult to acquire,” she said. “The equivalent prices in bond notes are also way expensive, but there’s nothing we can do as we want accommodation.
“It is really different from using the on-campus accommodation as you can pay for accommodation later rather than off campus whereby you have to pay monthly.”
MSU director of public relations Mrs Mirirai Mawere said they were aware that accommodation was now expensive. She said as a measure to cushion the struggling parents, MSU had come up with a database of landlords who charge reasonable prices.
“We have off-campus sub wardens whose duty is to direct parents or students to cheap or affordable accommodation,” she said. “We want the best for the parents and their children.”