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Published on January 25th, 2017 | by Chris Settineri

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The Future of College Housing

For many, college is the first experience of being on one’s own. It’s the first step into the world of adulthood. A large part of this is learning to live on your own.

On many campuses, campus housing has gone from simply a storage solution for students to full service living-learning environments where students are encouraged to grow both mentally and academically.

Over the years these environments became an integral part in enrollment and financial management for colleges.

Schools use housing as an attractant and recruiting tool as well. Students, educators, and even the institutions themselves know that residential housing is not one of the core competencies of colleges and universities.

This need for better living options has opened the door to partnerships strategically and financially between schools and real estate development companies.

These so called “nontraditional” partnerships see the college residential situation as a mutual and predictable revenue stream that can be leveraged and made more efficient to offer the best for both the school, students, and its partners.

The point many developers make is that colleges and universities are not in the real estate business nor should they be, but they do have a real need for quality, safe living environments for their students.

Most of these developments promise a higher quality of living, with a limited increase in price, as well as safe conducive learning spaces.

This sounds very promising and at a glance appears to be the way of the future for college housing, but can these development companies really deliver the high caliber product they are promising?

Ultimately that comes down to who is developing the property and the deal that has been struck with the school. One of these companies, American Campus Communities, is founded on the idea of developing third party solutions for universities. The deals they strike with schools vary, but generally the schools manage and collect fees from the property and then distribute that revenue to the various partners on the project.

Student reactions to the idea have been varied. Many students seem open to the idea, but still want to preserve some of that traditional college environment. Others though are all for a new wave of institutions residential experiences.

“I’m definitely open to this idea, college living situations have for too long been looked at as a warehousing system for students,” FSC senior Alex Rogers said. “That doesn’t work anymore, students need more to succeed and learn.”

Developers and universities alike seem very open to new housing possibilities in the near future. This is not something that will happen overnight.

Schools take a very long time to make decisions, and real estate development takes time to get approved and construct.

At some schools, this concept is already proving itself to be more effective. York University, Drake University, and some others across the country have been testing the concept for some time now and it’s starting to show its appeal.

Ultimately this concept may very well be the way of the future, it gives students the same benefits as living “on campus”, but with a higher quality of living as well as a potentially better environment for growth and experience.


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