The University of Zambia (UNZA) has confirmed that accommodation fees for the 2017/2018 academic year have increased from K1,200 to K3,900, representing a 100 per cent hike from last academic year.
UNZA public relations officer Damaseke Chibale said the increase was as a result of a number of issues that had not remained constant such as electricity and water bills, as well as the pay rise given to the hostel cleaners last academic year.
Mr Chibale was speaking in an exclusive interview with the Times at the institution's Great East Road Campus in Lusaka on Wednesday.
He justified the increment, saying UNZA was actually one of the public institutions where accommodation fees remained low in spite of other inceases.
"Honestly I don't think that K3,900 is a lot of money considering the fact that this fee is paid only once a year," Mr Chibale said.
He said the increased fee was almost half what the students who came from boarding houses paid in an academic year.
Mr Chibale also said it was not true that some female students would be accommodated at the old residence, the hostels commonly known as the 'ruins' which have been occupied by male students from the time the institution was opened.
He said these were just social media rumours and advised all students to get information about the upcoming events through official communication channels as opposed to getting it from anywhere.
Meanwhile, some UNZA students received the news with mixed feelings and said management did not consider the majority of students when arriving at this decision.
Vita Banda, a third-year student of Mass Communication, said the move would only put an extra burden, especially on students who were on self-sponsorship.
"We don't accept the decision by management because this will only put more pressure on students who are on self-sponsorship and are paying more than K20,000," she said.
Another student, Miyanda Habeene, who is doing Natural Sciences, said the increase push him out of the institution next academic year because his parents could not afford an extra burden on top of the K24,000 he was currently paying annually.