University Hostels – More Money – More Class [analysis]

Later this year, a fresh set of students will join universities across the country. Of particular interest to them now is the university and course to which they will be admitted.

However, soon they will also be concerned with living arrangements. SHARON MUWANGUZI, ROGERS KAYONDO and SAMUEL KAMUGISHA have been looking at what is available on offer for students. They looked at hostels on offer at Makerere, Kyambogo, Makerere Business School (Mubs) and Uganda Christian University in Mukono (UCU).

The residences of choice for most students range from hostels, university halls and small rental rooms, popularly known as mizigo. Different residences offer dissimilar facilities, with each category attracting a particular type of students – largely defined by the size of the resource purse. They are ideally hostels and official university halls of residence.

Hostels are privately owned and highly demanded by students because of the different unique facilities provided. But even these are in three different categories.


These hostels are costly, with the best facilities and well-built rooms. Class A rooms typically come furnished with satellite Tv connections and are also usually mini-hotel rooms, where one can enjoy the good life. However, even these can be enhanced to meet one’s individual taste.

One such room at Mubs, at the Kataza-based Akamwesi hostel will for example cost between Shs 1m and Shs 2m per semester depending on your preferred size.

A single room goes for Shs 1.8m, while big double rooms are Shs 980,000 per student, while smaller double rooms go for Shs 900,000 per student. valley Courts, another classy hostel seated in the same area, offers various facilities to students.

“The beautiful rooms give me a homely feeling with cable television and the security is also good. For non-residents to enter the hostel, they have to present some form of identification and sign the visitors’ book,” says Shantal Zawedde, a resident of valley Courts.

At Kyambogo, Bettina hostel falls in this class of hostels. It charges Shs 1.2m a semester per self-contained single room and provides extra facilities, including a stand-by generator. Makerere’s Kikoni-based Nana and Olympia hostels belong to the first class group of hostels. Residents at Nana boast of a gym, a supermarket, a photo studio and a parking lot with a few gun-wielding gardens.

Nana residents also brag of a standard swimming pool, a restaurant and self-contained double and single rooms costing between Shs 850,000 and Shs 1.3m.

“I love the hostel because of its favorable reading environment,” says Divion Atuhairwe, a law student.

UCU also has its share of classy hostels. Kauga-based William hostel, Bugujju’s Tupendani hostel and Jikah Hostel win slots in this category. William hostel offers self-contained rooms, a water heater, all at a fee of Shs 1.3m per semester. Tupendani, which costs Shs 1m (single rooms) and Shs 600,000 (double rooms) per student per semester, also provides to Wi-Fi access and cable Tv.

Jikah hostel has two categories of apartments: the house, comprising a sitting room, two bedrooms and a kitchen, goes for Shs 2m and self-contained rooms going for Shs 550,000 each.


These hostels are more affordable than their Class A counterparts. They are also less furnished and attract more students compared to Class A hostels. At Makerere, Garden Courts hostel is a typical Class B hostel because of the ordinary rooms (both self-contained and non-self-contained) its offers for between Shs 550,000 and Shs 700,000 per semester.

Alpha and Omega hostel has both self-contained and non self-contained rooms

At UCU, such hostels go for between Shs 500,000 and Shs 600,000 per semester. They offer ordinary services like security, tiled rooms and free parking space. St Michael International, Alpha and Omega, and Excel have slots in this category.


Class C hostels charge lower rent compared to Class A and B. The facilities provided do not exceed water and electricity lavatories and water taps are located outside the rooms. Rent goes for between Shs 300,000 and Shs 500,000.

“I always wanted privacy so the services were just a by-the-way because the price also favoured me and the walkable distance to the university ,” says Agatha Mutebi, a UCU student who resides at King David hostel in Bugujju. Offering free water, restricted usage of electricity and security, a room at the hostel goes for Shs 350,000 per semester.

Nakawa’s Ebenezer hostel offers triple and double rooms with each resident parting with between Shs 300,000 and Shs 500,000 respectively.


Halls are residential areas managed by universities, for which students pay. At some public universities like Makerere, government- sponsored residents do not pay for accommodation in these halls where students share rooms, bathrooms and toilets.

Mary Stuart, Complex and Africa halls house female students while Lumumba,

Mitchell, Livingstone, University Hall, Nsibirwa and Nkrumah accommodate males. However, private students pay Shs 440,000 per semester for residence here. The fee is exclusive of food. Sharon Akello, a Mary Stuart resident, prefers this form of residence for the calm environment and the easy accessible meals.

“I am also spared of the burden of rent dues.”

Inside one of the rooms of Lumumba hall for Makerere university male students

UCU has two residential halls and affiliated hostels. Sabiiti hall, which was recently expanded, houses female students, while Nsibambi is for the males. The halls are compulsory for all starting students who have to cough Shs 950,000 per semester. That fee guarantees the residents a meal and Wi-Fi.

Joan Nabwire, a Sabiiti hall resident says the hall is convenient because of the reliable electricity and water supply.

“The library and the meals are also near.”

Kyambogo University has Nanziri for the female students, Mandela and Kulubya for the male students while North halls a mixed hall. Students pay Shs 500,000 for accommodation and meals per semester. Mubs’ only hall, Berlin, accommodates government- sponsored students only.


For some it is hard to believe, but this is also a form of residence. These usually charge monthly fees ranging from Shs 100,000 to Shs 350,000. They usually attract students unwilling to return home even after the semester has closed. Makerere’s surrounding areas of Kikoni, Bwaise, Wandegeya and Nakulabye have plenty of these forms of residence.

Banda in Kyambogo is also teeming with rental houses that attract Kyambogo University and Mubs students. Here rooms go for between Shs 200,000 and Shs 400,000 per semester, with the cheapest erected in slummy areas where one has to jump rubbish heaps, trenches, filth and stagnant water. Most of these do not offer much save for a communal latrine and a bathroom.

David Tumusiime, a UCU student, rents a one-roomed house with an outdoor bathroom and lavatory at Shs 360, 000.

“When I was in hostel, I paid Shs 450,000 per semester in a room that was not self-contained and yet I had to buy food for myself. It was thus hard to make ends meet. But in the rental, I pay Shs 360,000 per semester,” Tumusiime says.

But students like Tumusiime have to keep hopping from one rental to another every term to avoid paying when others are on holiday.

Source : The Observer


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