Project for the Grading of Private Student Accommodation in South Africa


The Student Housing Grading and Accreditation Council has embarked on an ambitious project in partnership with the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) towards the grading of at least 100,000 private student accommodation beds per year from 2019 to 2023.

The goal is to grade 500, 000 beds by 2023, including student accommodation at colleges and universities. The purpose of SHGAC is to assure and ensure that student communities are provided with adequate, quality, fit-for-purpose student accommodation that promotes learning, development and success.

The graded private student accommodation will be listed in the SHGAC website for access by local and international students who have chosen South Africa as their study destination.

This SHGAC grading project will in future, make it possible for prospective students and their parents or donors to plan better, not only for their place of study, but most importantly for their private student accommodation options.

In the meantime, SHGAC is currently in the process towards the consolidation of the grading criteria which will ultimately be used for the grading of private student accommodation in South Africa. To participate in the online grading criteria survey, click here: 

At the same time the grading council has started the recruitment process of students and youth who will be trained as grading assessors under the auspices of the Student Housing Grading and Accreditation Council.

This means by the year 2023 students in their matric year applying for university studies outside their province in 2024, who might also need private accommodation because of limited accommodation at their university of choice will be able to use and to access a list of 500,000 listed and graded quality private student accommodation properties to choose from.

It is also envisaged that there will also be a functionality to take a virtual tour of the property of choice, view the inside and outside of the accommodation including the bedrooms, bathrooms and self-catering facilities and the travel route to the university and the nearest church. Students will also find an option to book and pay for student accommodation with a bankcard or at the nearest bank or retail store.

This system will solve problems of students such as 19 year old Thato (real life story of a student) from Temba in Hammanskraal, who In January 2018 was provisionally accepted at the North West University in Mahikeng. The university informed her that she was not accepted for student accommodation. She then had to look for private accommodation in a university town where she has never been before.

Fortunately for Thato, temporary accommodation was arranged with the Sechoaro family for her to stay until she could find suitable accommodation near the university in Mahikeng. However, Thato was one of the few lucky ones.

Every year many first-year female students leave their home villages and townships to study in faraway college and university towns.

Moreover, unlike Thato, such students are exposed to all sorts of risks including sexual assault and rape at the hands of senior “home-boys” who offer to assist them with accommodation either at their university residences or in private student accommodation.

Many of these vulnerable young women –mostly coming from poor families with no extensive networks – are forced to sleep in lecture halls or in community or church halls as they wait to be accepted for their studies and search for adequate and affordable student accommodation.

Read also