Colleges respond to housing shortages by looking off campus
- Hundreds of colleges and universities across the country have a shortage of on-campus student housing, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported. The issue is particularly apparent on the East and West coasts and in the Southeast and Southwest.
- Rising enrollments at public flagship universities and highly selective institutions, along with an increase in out-of-state and international students, is largely to blame for the overflow. Universities in the Midwest and Northeast, meanwhile, are experiencing enrollment declines.
- Institutions have responded by increasing capacity in existing dorms, offering students incentives to live off campus, bringing in manufactured housing, building new on-campus dorms and, in some extreme cases, asking faculty to host students. The need for housing has also caused universities to establish public-private partnerships (P3s) with developers to build student housing near campus.
For the country's top colleges and universities, student housing can be a differentiator, and a flashy new dorm — or even just the promise of living space on or near campus — can help draw prospective students. But many universities are unable to provide the necessary housing inventory.
Enter the private sector. For years, universities have partnered with private developers to build and operate housing near campus. Handing over design, construction and management to private sector partners with expertise in student housing lets universities offer students high-end amenities that are likely to be a draw but may be too expensive or tedious for them to build or manage solo, The New York Times notes, naming quartz countertops, stainless-steel appliances, swimming pools and fitness centers as among the popular inclusions.
Entering into a P3 also can help universities find favor with investors, Multi-Housing News reported.
The number of universities building off-campus housing peaked in 2014, along with the number of beds offered, according to real estate data company Axiometrics. Since then, the number of beds has dropped but remained consistent with 2015 levels while the number of universities and colleges continued to decline.
Leading the shrinking pack is Florida State University and Texas A&M University, which each plan to add more than 2,400 off-campus beds this fall, accounting for 11% of the expected inventory. The remaining 13 universities planning more than 1,000 beds don’t expect to surpass 1,500, Axiometrics found.
Other institutions planning significant off-campus student housing development this fall include the University of Central Florida, the University of Texas at Austin and Arizona State University.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education This Fall’s Housing Crunch Is So Urgent One University Is Asking Its Professors for Help