Family housing in campus is a service designed to offer accommodations to students who are living with their families while studying. These students could be spouses who are living together while also it could imply a student living with their nuclear family including the parents and the student’s siblings. This service is available to students in most universities in the country aiming to offer the student as much comfort as possible during their school life. This paper aims at focusing on the challenges associated with family housing facilities and how these challenges weigh on the families housed in these units and the students in general.
The target of the Family housing units in the university apartments is specifically the student parent and international students. These students cannot be housed in the ordinary apartments as they need special facilities and conditions that would facilitate child care. While it is quite clear that these student require some special resources and services around these apartments so that they can be able to juggle between glasswork, family and work at times, universities have been able to offer them in variations and great limitations. This has really compromised the performance and comfort of the students affected. Similarly, family relations in a nuclear family would be compromise if they were not offered special housing units.
One of the biggest challenges has been the financial demands placed on the students who are housed in these units. Most university regulations have implemented monthly rents on these apartments. The charges are exorbitant and failure to pay on time means eviction without due notice. Similarly, these students are not offered any amnesty in case of failure. There are no modalities that provide for an agreement to be housed on credit basis with a view to paying the rent in the future. This is quite unfair as these students in most case not financially stable which means they have to struggle a lot to comply with the rules. This situation weighs heavily on their performance in school, activities.
Another major challenge for students using those units has been the lack of child care centers within the university premises. Even those that have been available have not been satisfactory enough as there are so many regulations and limitations such as timing and age settings for children who can be accommodated there. For instance most child care centers have set an age limit of between 2.5 to five years of age. This has left a large population of children who require child care out of the picture. Thus most parents have not been able to use such services at all. This has meant that such parents have been forced to access such services outside the university premises a situation that costs them more money and time. This has clearly gone against the conventional law the access to quality child care should not at any time be an obstacle to learning for students in colleges or universities.
On the other hand, universities have not been able to sufficiently offer these services. Most campuses do not have complete statistics of the students who require family housing facilities. Accessibility of these services has also been a major challenge. Booking for the family housing and child care facilities has in most cases been made a long awaiting process. In some instances and in fact most of them, it takes a pre-booking period of one year. This places a lot of inconveniences on the students who require these services. More importantly, international students have felt the burden of these handicaps as they are required to make prior arrangements from a long time before they actually join the institution. This is vewry costly especially where they have to travel from their native countries on a regular basis to sort out such modalities.
One conclusion that can be drawn from these situations is that the needs of students who use the family housing units in universities have not been well catered for. There is need for a comprehensive input from the government and the university authorities to tackle these issues. The government on one hand should look to offer subsidies to student parents especially in matters of rent. In collaboration with the universities, the government should set up policies that will enable the access to the facilities even on credit terms. Similarly, there is need to reduce the costs especially incurred in child care facilities while also removing the current barriers of inaccessibility and unavailability. International students would aloes feel much appreciated if they are offered special subsidies especially in housing as they have so much influence on economic growth of the country. Offering them such incentives would increase their numbers within institutions.
The university authorities on the other hand should look to analyze all data about their students so that they can determine those who need such services. In the light of this, they can plan on how to effectively cater for this growing population of students. This would need for collaboration with private and community child care centers for instance so that they are allowed to set up base within the university apartment and provide their services from within. It is important to note however that the major challenge has been the rental charges and the child care center charges. With increased services providers and subsidies from the government on rents, these students will be much comfortable. The situation will be more favorable for them and they can work towards achieving their academic dreams without many challenges.