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On-Campus Vs Off-Campus Student Accommodation: The Pros and Cons
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On-Campus Vs Off-Campus Student Accommodation: The Pros and Cons


Studying in Kenyan universities comes with very many decisions, a major one being where to live. The two most popular options stand out. Should you live in managed student accommodation(on-campus) or private rentals (off-campus)?

Different universities in Kenya offer different types of accommodation with varying differences in their charges as well. This largely depends on the location of the university and whether it’s a public or private university.

Most universities in Kenya offer on-campus accommodation but with the increasing number of high school students who qualify for tertiary education, this is becoming a challenge. There is no single University in Kenya that has enough accommodation for all of its students, and this has given room for private accommodation to develop.

Public & Private Universities On-Campus Student Accommodation

On-campus accommodation is the best option for students who don’t mind sharing their space with other students. 

Let’s look at the on-campus charges for some of the most common public and private universities in Kenya.

1. Kenyatta University

Kenyatta University is located along Thika Road. Kenyatta University students are accommodated in the Main and Ruiru Campus hostels.

They range from single rooms, double rooms, and triple rooms to common rooms where more than 6 students can be accommodated. These rooms are priced differently with the singles being the most expensive. 

The University charges from Ksh7,000 per year, but you can also pay per semester. 

2. United States International University (USIU)

USIU is also located on Thika Road, near the Safari Park Hotel. Its hostels consist of two residential buildings that accommodate 258 students on campus. USIU also has a partnership with Arcon holdings for a 700-bed facility for its students.

3. Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT)

JKUAT is located in Juja. The University charges Ksh7,800 per year and the rooms are shared. 

4. Strathmore University

Strathmore University is located in Madaraka Estate, and it does not provide hostel facilities to students. However, the institution has partnered with investors to offer accommodation to students in Madaraka Estate. 

The hostels go for Ksh10,000 per month and the university recommends which ones to select.

5. Moi University

This university is located in Eldoret and it has three major campuses. The varsity charges a hostel amount ranging from Ksh5,000 to Ksh7,000 per year.  

6. Technical University of Kenya (TU-K)

The Technical University of Kenya,  is located in the Nairobi CBD along Haile Selassie Avenue, opposite the Central Bank of Kenya. 

TU-K has limited hostel facilities for both men and ladies in South B and Upper Hill respectively but has also partnered with private investors to provide accommodation to its students.

For university-owned hostels, the average monthly cost is Ksh7,000. 

7. Multimedia University 

Multimedia University is located on Magadi Road, opposite Nairobi National Park. It has a bed capacity of 1026 spaces and 513 rooms.  Students pay a total of Ksh17,000 per year. 

8. South Eastern University

Located in Kitui County, this university provides rooms with prices going up to Ksh15,600 per year. The rooms are shared.

9. Egerton University 

Egerton University is located in Njoro, Nakuru county. The university has a few rooms available for accommodation and the charges vary from Ksh7,000 to Ksh12,000 per year. 

10. University of Eldoret

Located in Eldoret, the University of Eldoret offers student accommodation with charges starting from Ksh7,000 per year.

11. Maseno University

Maseno University is located in Maseno Township along the Kisumu-Busia road, 25km from Kisumu City. The University offers accommodation facilities to all students admitted at the Main Campus. The rooms are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

The University accommodation is charged at Ksh2,900 and Ksh5,500 per semester for out-catering and self-catering rooms respectively.

12. Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST)

Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology is located in Kakamega Town, Western Kenya. The university has 5 hostels. Room allocation is done on a first-come-first served basis through online booking. 

However, special consideration is also given to first-year students, students who are differently-abled, students with medical issues, and student leaders. 

A room is booked and occupied for a period of one academic year, and payment is therefore charged for one academic year. The current cost is Ksh5,000 per semester.

Public & Private Universities Private Accommodation (Off-Campus)

To boost on-campus accommodation, there is a lot of private accommodation around the campus areas in Nairobi and outside Nairobi. Private accommodation comes in the form of hostels and single or shared apartments.

With the increasing number of  university students in Kenya, there has been an increase in demand for accommodation, forcing private developers to build private hostels for students.

Although they might be a bit costly if compared to on-campus accommodation, these private rental houses provide a housing alternative for campus students. 

Renting private hostels or houses can vary in prices from as low as Ksh2,500 to around Ksh78,000 per month depending on the area and the specific facilities provided by the living space.

Some of the common private hostels/accommodation around different universities around Kenya include; 

  1. University of Nairobi
  • JessyGreen Student Residence - Zimmerman Estate 
  • Hayden Stone – Boys Hostel - Ring Road Kileleshwa, Opposite Prime Bank 
  • Simba Ladies Hostel - Ngara Road North, opposite Fig Tree Hotel 
  • Classy Ladies Hostel - Gatak-ini Hose, Tom Mboya Street 
  • Ngara Men’s Hostel - Ngara Road off Murang’a Road 
  • Modern Christian Hostel - Ngara Road opp. Kenya Police Sacco 
  • St. Johns Ladies Hostel - Ngara Road off Murang’a Road 

The rent charge ranges between Ksh7,000 to  Kshs12,000 per month depending on whether it’s a single room, or whether it’s shared between 2 to 8 people.

  1. Kenyatta University
  • St. Mary’s Girls Hostels - Kahawa Sukari
  • Destiny Park Ladies and Gents Hostels - Kahawa Wendani
  • Wel-Star Ladies Hostel - Kahawa Sukari
  • King County Hostel - Kahawa Wendani

The rent charge is from Ksh3,000 to Kshs 8,000 per month, but some of the hostels charge per semester with prices ranging between Ksh12,000 to Ksh24,000. Again, all of this depends on whether you want a single room or a shared room, and the number of people in the shared room.

  1. United States International University(USIU)
  • Priwana
  • Paragon - Green gate next to North View (Pema Apartments)
  • Queens Hostel 
  • Esanto - Along USIU road
  • Qwetu
  • Gadiel Hostels - 700M from USIU

All these hostels cost between  Ksh6,500 to Ksh27,000 per month, with some charging rent per semester from Ksh35,000 to Ksh78,000

  1. Moi University
  • Dadina Hostel 
  • Cheros Hostel

The cost ranges from Ksh4,000 to Ksh7,000 per month to or if you decide to pay on a semester basis, the price range is  Ksh16,000 to Ksh28,000 

  1. Masinde Muliro University
  • Oxford Hostels
  • Victory Hostels
  • Ena Place Hostel
  • Eagles Hostels
  • Kefinco Hostels
  • State House Hostels

The rent rates for these private hostels range from Ksh2,500 to Ksh12,000 per month.

The Pros and Cons of Living in On-Campus Student Accommodation 


  1. On-campus student accommodation is very convenient

Of the many benefits of living in student accommodation provided by the university, is that they are very convenient because most are normally within the schools’ vicinity and so you don’t have to worry about commuting charges.

Students living in on-campus accommodation also enjoy amenities such as good security, cheap meals, free wifi, furnished rooms, study spaces among others.

  1. They offer a lot of flexibility

Many on-campus student accommodations are normally short-term. So if you’re the type of student who prefers going with their stuff back home after every semester, it is very possible for you to do that. Then acquire a different place on-campus room when you are back in session.

  1. It’s easier to make friends

In on-campus student accommodation, you will obviously be living with other students. That way, it will become easier for you to create good and long-lasting friendships. It’s just like you’re living in an already created community with your peers.


  1. Privacy

On-campus accommodation might offer a ready-made community but that also means that it could be difficult to have some time alone whenever you want. If you’re the kind of person who values privacy, it might not be ideal for you. However, before you settle on what option to opt for, check with your institution for more on-campus housing options.

  1. Freedom

Most on-campus housing options come with very strict policies that govern students’ behavior regarding time, noise, hosting people, and many others. 

The Pros and Cons of Living in Private Accommodation 


  1. It’s great for building life experience

Living in private accommodation comes with a level of independence that can be a tool for experiencing the outside world and gaining you some level of experience. You learn firsthand how to manage your finances, how to budget, pay bills on time, and keep yourself up to date with everything around you.

  1. Private rentals can be cheaper

When you opt for private accommodation depending on where your university is located, it could actually be a cheaper option. Because you get to choose a house that’s just enough for you and manage it with the money you have. And that can be as little as Ksh3,000 per month for rent.


  1. You have to take care of everything

Unlike On-campus accommodation, renting private accommodation will make you responsible for almost everything. This includes the electricity costs, water bills, internet connection, cleaning among others depending on your needs.

  1. You may not always know who you’re moving in with.

Most students who live in private rentals decide to live with a roommate to help cut down on costs. However, living with housemates is always tricky although you can find the best ways to split costs amongst yourselves to ensure a smooth relationship. 

The next time you are stressed and undecided about Campus accommodation, remember all of the options above.

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Sheila Brenda Andoi is a dedicated journalist, meticulous editor, and skilled communicator with a profound passion for maternal health. Her journey in the world of media and communication has been marked by a commitment to shedding light on crucial issues. Sheila's writing not only informs but also inspires and educates

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