Universities and colleges are constantly under pressure to provide housing that meets the needs and expectations of modern students. However, with ever-changing student housing patterns, creating amenities that promote socializing, engagement, and academic performance has proven difficult to crack.
However, the introduction of COVID-19 in student housing and campuses in the United States and worldwide complicates an already compelling set of issues. This post will examine the most recent student housing developments that define the industry’s future.
Understanding these trends can assist universities, colleges, and student housing operators create safer and smarter structures to increase student health and retention rates. On the other hand, students can use this knowledge to anticipate what to expect from housing providers.
Student housing in the United States must work within this urgent circumstance now and possibly for the foreseeable future. Historically, some of the most severe challenges in student housing have often involved occupancy, rent collection, and other persistent issues in various student housing statistics.
According to industry experts, de-densification of on-campus housing will allow the off-campus student housing market to achieve favorable occupancy rates while compensating for potential enrolment declines. So, these are the key trends influencing the student housing industry:
1. New House Rules
The global impact of the coronavirus epidemic is still being felt, influencing practically every aspect of our life. College and university students’ second residences have changed dramatically, from limited occupancy and face masks to social separation and disinfection precautions.
College Dorms Protocols
The movement and stay of residents should also be appropriately managed. For example, housing management must ensure that inhabitants in shared rooms have at least 6 feet of distance between them. In addition, it is ideal to allow at least 50% occupancy for a complete on-campus housing facility to foster social separation. Finally, non-residents, such as relatives or classmates, should be prohibited from entering the premises at all times.
If possible, use physical barriers such as shower curtains or plastic screens in locations where residents cannot be at least 6 feet apart. If this is not practical, displaying a notice to maintain proper social distance would aid in reducing in-person contamination. Furthermore, residents should be obliged to clean as they go.
Before the pandemic, schools and institutions around the country were already implementing long-term transition plans for remote learning in their individual regions. COVID-19 merely accelerated this change. In reality, the 2020 fall semester became the new distant learning environment’s standard. As a result, American higher education institutions and student housing developers have realized that a mixed learning model will likely be the standard in the future.
American student housing owners are investing heavily in upgrading fast internet service to fulfill student technology requirements to create an atmosphere that enables pure or partial online study.
3. Modern, Collaborative, Safe spaces
In the world of academics, the cliche “all work and no play makes Jack a boring boy” is accurate. Students require time away from their schoolwork to participate, develop new connections, and deepen existing ones. As a result, student housing should provide collaborative places to foster relationships and assist students in achieving academic achievement.
To achieve this goal of student engagement, modern design concepts include flexible study spaces, lounges, laundries, kitchens, and entertainment areas with comfortable furnishings. These indoor places enable students to do tasks, socialize, and have fun.
Furthermore, student housing now includes beneficial features such as faculty-in-residence, green screens, innovation incubators, ping pong tables, and maker spaces. In addition, colleges are constructing welcoming outdoor spaces to facilitate various educational, social, and recreational programs.
Post-pandemic College Dorms
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in considerable alterations to these. As a result, traditional layout and circulation arrangements within post-pandemic student housing will almost certainly change.
Noncontiguous hallways, more single rooms, bigger double rooms, and smaller clusters of suites are among the new design elements. Similarly, different entrances will be developed to alleviate congestion.
As the emphasis has turned to student health, student housing decision-makers anticipate the development of new types of spaces for individual well-being, with designs and places that promote correct social distancing and compartmentalization of inhabitants.
4. Going Green
Even before the global health crisis, today’s kids were ecologically conscious. They grew up in a period when knowledge was readily available, and they were familiar with conversations about the necessity of environmental conservation. As a result, sustainability has become embedded in their psyche, and they are ready to keep the fire blazing.
In the same way, higher education institutions do not want to be a hindrance to sustainability. Many colleges and universities are at the forefront of this transformation, attempting to include green elements into student housing design. Furthermore, the prestigious race for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum designation is in full swing, with each institution eager to showcase cutting-edge green features.
5. Increased Privacy
One projected consequence of the epidemic is an increased demand for privacy in student accommodation in the United States and worldwide. The traditional preference for large-group units for six-person apartments has recently switched in US student housing to micro-units and studio-type residences, as well as single- and double-bedroom apartments.
Nonetheless, due to the ongoing student housing deficit, schools and universities are unlikely to abolish the shared room arrangement. However, the COVID-19 epidemic has prompted institutions to focus more on the critical need for individual privacy. Surprisingly, many people gradually break from the norm to meet this desire. Many institutions, for example, have eliminated shared bathrooms in residence halls. Furthermore, some are reducing the number of kids sharing a room.
Furthermore, we now have suites that provide students with private places and noise control measures. Some colleges even offer spa facilities with individual showers and toilet spaces to maximize student comfort. As universities attempt to accommodate all types of students, more changes are coming.
6. Community and Assistants’ New Roles
Resident Assistants, or RAs, are essential to the student living experience. For newcomers, RAs ease the adjustment from life in a parental household to the student-centric environment, which can sometimes be daunting. Furthermore, with RAs available on and off-campus, parents can be confident that their children are in good hands.
Almost all student housing buildings now feature student paraprofessionals. While this has been the standard for decades, RAs are now given more responsibilities. Today, its primary responsibility is to enforce rules and regulations for citizens. They are also responsible for fostering healthy living for students, in addition to other administrative, institutional, and community-related duties.
7. Diverse Unit Types
Colleges provide increasingly diversified unit types to meet the varying student housing preferences and demands. This is not a new trend; it has been around since 2016, yet it continues to influence student housing.
Apparently, universities and colleges are responding to changing student lifestyles by offering a variety of unit kinds. As a result, it’s no longer unusual to come across a housing complex that combines quad-style, studio-style, and family flats.
Students are given the option to make educated, personal life choices that are optimal for social and academic success in this manner. Furthermore, intelligent designs enable organizations to modify the housing methods to reflect their identity and culture.
8. Phasing Out of the Dorm
Traditionally, on-campus dorms were little more than somewhere for students to live. They lacked essential utilities and indoor space, and there was no room for student interaction. So it’s no wonder many students chose to live in off-campus accommodation, far superior to on-campus housing.
Today, innovative student housing buildings are reinventing what we call dormitories. On-campus student residences and communities are increasingly resembling off-campus housing. They have an urban feel and design and are equipped with cutting-edge amenities to meet students’ basic, social, and intellectual demands.
Most significantly, modern housing facilities are vibrant, long-lasting, and attractive. They appeal to students because of their beautiful outdoor pools, trendy coffee shops, technology-enabled study places, and in-suite laundry facilities. Simply put, these apartments and college communities provide the amenities that entice today’s students.
With the continuing trend of fewer inhabitants per room, the few remaining dorm-style lodgings will certainly decline quicker than expected.
Today, college and university administrators and school housing management are confronted with many new issues. In general, this list focuses on the need to ensure the health and safety of COVID-19 students, protect housing facilities from viral contamination, and keep facility operations financially sustainable.
According to a recent Association of College and University Housing Officers poll, 70% of student living administrators have opted or intend to cut bed counts or de-densify their campus housing facilities (CBRE, 2020). Furthermore, 79 percent of on-campus housing administrators plan to transform previously vacant dorms into probable quarantine facilities. According to industry statistics, 88 percent of student housing spaces were occupied.
College is going to become more exciting. Prepare for the most significant online party you’ve seen since leaving your folks’ basement. Every dance-off and college dorm prank brings you closer to becoming the most popular student on campus. Orientation is only a single tap away!