Keeping track of trends and serving our clients go hand-in-hand. We are team members working towards mutual success and a lasting relationship. When I read an article in The Atlantic about student housing, I thought it was important enough to share.
There are Fewer Customers
As we know the baby-boomers are aging and they did not have as many children as their parents. There were 81,000 fewer high school graduates in 2017 than the year before. Higher education enrollment has declined for 5 consecutive years.
For Every Luxury, There is a Bill to be Paid
Coffee bars, apartment living, gaming lounges, larger rooms, fitness centers, rock climbing walls; they all cost money. Who is paying for it? The students in fees, higher rents and higher tuition. And all this time we thought it was the faculty or the football program. Georgia State University found that for every $5,000 in unmet financial need, a student is 12% less likely to graduate in 4 years.
The Arms Race is Over
Students will live in a smaller space if they can save money. It just needs to have the basic amenities; wi-fi, air conditioning, washer/dryers. When given the option, students will save money and live in more modest accommodations.
It Didn’t Work
Indiana University of Pennsylvania replaced ALL student housing with new luxury apartments at a cost of $270 million. Since 2010, enrollment has dropped by 17%.
Beware! Better Housing
Is it an indicator of lower academic standards? It may be easier to build nicer housing than bump up academic standards. And, perhaps those students who don’t get into the top tier schools do not spend as much book time as their more academically accomplished peers. Welcome to the “College as Country Club” phenomenon, where students only spend 25% of their time in academic pursuits. If you put them in a luxury setting, they feel pampered and happy. They may also spend more time alone in their luxurious rooms with kitchens, reducing community time for networking, friendship building, and group study time.
Alumni need to be successful to be able to make donations to their Alma Mater. If they are buried in debt or haven’t created a network for success, chances diminish for a growing endowment and institutional survival.
Like everything in this country, there are lots of conditions and situations; one-solution-does-not-fit-all. There are plenty of examples of private/public partnering and ground-breaking ideas at first rate institutions across the USA. Building, renovating, Green certifying are all investments, and we know how critical market research is when making an investment. Keeping abreast of trends helps us ask questions, exchange ideas, and pursue the best strategy for the entire team’s success.
John Lister, AIA, LEED AP, GGP
- South Street Station, Purdue University, West Lafayette IN – awarded Existing Building 2 Green Globes