Firms like Nelson Partners, which specialize in providing affordable, quality student housing, are growing to meet the exploding demand for their product. But as the college concept evolves, due to factors like online and distance learning, so too does the need for housing to accommodate the changes.
As a result, developers who work in the student housing space stay on their toes to keep up with student needs. Here are a few key areas where student housing is headed.
Distance Learning and Flexible Class Schedules
It isn’t easy for students who take their education beyond the traditional four walls of a classroom (known as distance learning) to manage part-time jobs and commuting hours. And for those who attend school on “flexible” schedules (meaning they’re working full-time while attending college part-time), affordable and convenient housing becomes increasingly difficult to find.
As a result, over half of the college students live off-campus. In addition, nearly one-third of those students commute more than 30 minutes each way to school – which means they likely need housing near their schools.
Living in Community with Adults Who Are Not Peers
Gone are the days when students attend college to live on campus or live close to peers (with similar age groups and class schedules). Instead, today’s college students are more likely to be older – partly because they’re returning to school to improve their job prospects. They also have more responsibilities beyond school, which can include raising children and caring for elderly parents.
Consumer Features That Appeal to Both Students & Families
As the composition of college students evolves, so too does the demand for student housing that appeals to a broader audience – not just those with similar academic objectives. This means amenities that promote community interaction, in addition to common spaces that appeal to family members (like group study rooms and computer labs).
It also means more amenities aimed at students who are aging out of traditional college housing. For example, many modern student housing developments include features like a fitness center aimed at the busy professional who’s trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle on the go.
Making an Internet Centered Housing Experience Convenient
Staying connected is important for students who are constantly tethered to their laptops and using the Internet for class. As a result, many developers have designed all their communities with high-speed wireless connectivity throughout the property. And they’ve also partnered with private companies like AT&T so that every resident enjoys free broadband access in their unit.
Making Student Housing More Inclusive of All Generations
As the conventional college student evolves, so does the family dynamic. This means many more parents are looking for on-campus housing near colleges (to be closer to their children) and independent housing (which is affordable and features everything students need). To accommodate this, developers are retrofitting existing housing stock by adding more amenities that appeal to this growing demographic.
For example, many properties now offer furnished units that come complete with cable and Internet access – so students can live on campus without paying for those items as an added expense.
Developers respond to students’ various housing needs by designing their communities with the best features in mind – and collaborating with local colleges and universities to ensure on-campus housing is available to students who are planning their academic path.