Why On-Campus Student Housing Matters


Capstone On-Campus is excited about the unveiling of our new blog entitled, “Student Housing Matters.”  Our goal is to provide a forum for important matters related to on-campus student housing, as well as a place to provide thought leadership on why we believe (and are passionate about!) that quality on-campus student housing matters.

Why do we feel so strongly that on-campus student housing matters?

Some years ago, officials of Iowa State University conducted a study of traditional-age, direct from high school students, who entered the University in fall 1999.  This study, “Assessment of University Housing and Graduation Rates,” looked closely at the graduation rates of this cohort of students for the six year period beginning in 1999.  The findings reflected a strong correlation between living on-campus and student success.  In short, for every year a student lived in on-campus housing, his or her chances of graduating increased profoundly– living in on-campus housing was a strong contributing factor.

In an 11/23/07 blog post entitled, “Top 11 Reasons Why Students Drop out of College” the first reason given is:

Homesickness and feeling that you don’t belong.

At least once a year, Capstone On-Campus surveys all student residents in our on-campus communities.  While the questions and responses cover a wide variety of issues, the majority of the student responses can be grouped into three important categories:

  • Convenience:  My furniture was in place when I arrived, I can walk to classes, the laundry and study lounges are close to my room, I can pay one bill for room and utilities, and so on.
  •  Community:  Do I fit in?  Do I feel like I am part of a larger community, or simply another number?
  • Value:  When the on-campus housing provider gets the above two issues “right,” then a student (and parents of a first time student) typically perceives he or she is getting “value.”  For a first time student this is critical, because it usually lessens the focus on price (rental rate).

There is more that can be said about each of these categories – and we will in future blogs.  For now, there is strong evidence to support that when universities are focused on making sure their on-campus housing program maximizes the building of community, students get connected and feel like they belong.

Here’s another example of why quality on-campus housing matters.  In an article entitled, “10 top reasons to choose Harvard University,” (http://studyusa.learnhub.com/lesson/19869-10-top-reasons-to-choose-harvard-university) take a look at reason #4:

4.  Good living experience.

Guess what was ranked lower on this list?

5.   Opportunities for internships and jobs.
7.   Largest Library system in the world.
8.   Diversity
9.   State-of-art technology.
10. Great career opportunities.

By the way, in case you were wondering, #6 was, “Best housing facility in the nation.”

Well-planned and intentional on-campus housing programs really can have a profound impact on recruiting and retaining a student on your campus.  It really does matter.  What is your story about how your on-campus housing has mattered?  We would like to hear it!