Growth in luxury apartments for college students

by Grace

As housing has become a bigger factor in college selection, more schools are featuring luxury apartments instead of traditional dorms.

20121209.COCLuxuryCollegeApartments1

Instead of bunk beds, cinder-block walls and communal showers, these newly built dorms off campus resemble apartments and offer a wide range of amenities, such as walk in-closets and custom-designed furniture. Everyone usually gets his or her own bedroom and bathroom, so the only sharing is in the high-end kitchens that often feature granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances….

These upscale living arrangements typically cost $1-2,000 more per year than dorms, and the boom in college attendance has made investing in these college apartment complexes profitable for some companies.

Developers are profiting from this imbalance. Residences for more than 30,000 beds are estimated to be under construction around campuses nationwide, though the industry’s fragmentation makes an accurate count difficult. These builders rely on amenities to stand out. At the Lodges of East Lansing near Michigan State University, the pool is heated year-round, and there’s an ice-skating rink just for students. During the week, a private shuttle bus takes students to class. On the weekends, they’re driven to and from night-life hot spots.

These amenities make me want to go back to college!

Michigan State University Among the amenities at the Lodges of East Lansing:

  • Indoor/outdoor fireplaces
  • Coffee house
  • Cybercafe
  • Dog park
  • Ice-skating rink
  • Outdoor grills
  • Gym, pool and sauna
  • Tanning bed
  • Private shuttle

University of Central Florida At University House, amenities include:

  • Tanning rooms
  • Putting green
  • Barbecue grills
  • Pool with cabanas and club house
  • Gaming room with multiple flatscreen TVs
  • Internet bar with PC and Mac stations

Texas A&M At the Cottages of College Station, amenities include:

  • Tennis and sand-volleyball courts
  • Pet-washing station
  • Tanning beds
  • Horseshoe and cornhole pit
  • Walking and fitness trail
  • Poolside jumbo screen
  • Fitness center with yoga studio

Arizona State University When it opens next year, the District on Apache will have:

  • Outdoor movie screen
  • 300-foot-long lazy river
  • Steam room
  • Golf simulator
  • Outdoor kitchen

Students should probably enjoy this taste of luxury living while they can.

“Most of these kids are going to have a step down in lifestyle when they have to enter the working-world environment after they graduate,” says John E. Vawter, principal of Capstone Collegiate Communities, which developed the Lodges and the Cottages.

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3 Comments to “Growth in luxury apartments for college students”

  1. Bonnie, it’s simple: MSU is now primarily privatized and relies on attracting rich kids to what was once “Moo U” for the farm kids, since the State of Michigan provides less per student than ever. To attract rich kids, you have to provide luxuries that they are accustomed to. The other solution (having the state subsidize education without luxuries for the poor and middle-class) has been thoroughly rejected by state legislatures.

    Disclaimer: I was an undergrad at MSU and lived in cinderblock dorms in the early 70s. I mainly remember the wall-to-wall vomit in the corridors, stairways, and elevators on weekends.

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  2. Yup, gotta attract the rich kids. But I suspect that upscale housing by itself accounts for very little of the rising costs.

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  3. Although building up facilities is certainly a factor, I suspect it’s overshadowed by administrative bloat.
    Staffing costs are simply a much bigger part school budgets, and admin costs have increased at high rates. But it could be argued that facilities and staffing spending are linked because you need a bigger staff for that new athletic center and you need new offices for all those diversity administrators, just to give two examples.

    Notice in figure 6 that instruction costs have shrunk relative to other costs.

    http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/financially-sustainable-university.aspx

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