- Published on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 02:00
Postgraduate students who complete their undergraduate degree while in residence will be eligible for residence accommodation in 2012, after Council approved the decision at their Exco sitting in June.
Students who are registered for, or intend to register for, a postgraduate qualification will now be considered for accommodation in third-tier residences, after UCT’s previous policy change appeared to remove postgraduates’ eligibility for residence.
Once accepted into postgraduate accommodation, a student may stay for a maximum of three years while they complete their studies.
UCT’s “n + 1” policy was changed to “n” in 2010, leaving postgraduate students uncertain about eligibility for accommodation. “N” is taken to mean the expected duration for completion of the student’s undergraduate degree, usually three years for most students.
“The [“n + 1”] policy was changed to allow more young first-time- entering students a place in the residence system,” said Grant Willis, Director of Student Housing and Residence Life. It has been confirmed for 2012 onwards, but is applicable to undergraduates only.
A separate policy, though still under the banner of the Residence Admissions Policy, is applicable to postgraduate students, and it is this that has been changed to allow postgraduate residence students accommodation for further studies.
The Student Representative Council (SRC) pushed for postgraduate students to be allowed to apply for third tier residence, said Secretary General Sean Darge in a statement to VARSITY.
“Previously, if you had completed your undergraduate at UCT and wanted to pursue Honours, you were forced out of residence. Our postgraduate residences were thus occupied wholly by undergraduates from other universities.
“This change intends to allow postgraduate students who may have been unable to study at UCT the opportunity to do so, and [thus] recognises the value of postgraduate students at UCT.”
In a report on his achievements on the SRC thus far, Residence Co-ordinator Khanya Gwaza said: “Together with the Residence Council, we [the SRC] held central consultations at Smuts and Marquard [Halls], Rochester [House], and Forest Hill to get student opinion. Previously, students who had completed their undergraduate degree at UCT were not allowed to live in third-tier residences. We fought for this to be changed.”
“Unclear” eligibility criteria
Many students have expressed uncertainty about their eligibility for residence after forms given out in residences for 2012 admission included the criterion, “[Students are eligible if] they live within local residential areas designated by the Admissions and Progression Committee (APC) as historically black and or educationally disadvantaged.”
When asked for clarity regarding this, Willis said: “The criterion refers to current students who are not in the residence system in 2011. It should be added that these are students who have previously applied for a residence space and were unsuccessful; preference will be given to them.”
This point has appeared on previous years’ admission forms, added Willis.