An increasing number of American college students are living the good life, and they are doing it off-campus where they can bond in a secure environment with other students.
According to The College Board, 60 percent of full-time college students at public universities and 36 percent at private universities live off-campus. Most colleges and universities require students to live on campus in dorms during their freshman year and may not offer the option of off-campus housing until they are juniors.
A new generation of student housing developers are doing their best to make life in the dorm seem like slumming it, even as these institutions of higher learning, still dealing with an on-campus housing shortage, are investing more into dorms with an abundance of amenities. As higher education becomes increasingly competitive and not as selective, one of the lures to parents and students is the housing available. That includes directing students to attractive apartments and suites for multiple students off campus.
The bottom line is that this is not your mother’s (or father’s) college housing, but it might mean fewer sleepless nights for parents concerned about that apartment in that scary neighborhood where their son or daughter is living this semester.
January usually means the start of a new semester —the spring semester— and with it a change of housing for some students and more new students enrolled in college classes. For all the reasons stated— and more— off-campus housing is flourishing at colleges throughout the country.
Suites are in greater demand than ever, and they are duplicating the dorm experience with more amenities. According to Building Design + Construction Magazine, the idea is to get the student out of his or her bedroom, whether on or off campus, so the bedroom is smaller in multiple-bedroom suites with more common areas for studying and leisure (a.k.a. academic and social spaces). Indoor TV lounges, a traditional part of dorm life, is being included with the social spaces in off-campus units.
What does today’s student really want from his college experience?
For starters, there is the need for privacy, even with the move toward social spaces or a living room feature. They want their own bedrooms and bathrooms— not a bunkmate or someone using the shower when you’ve got a class in 20 minutes.
The wider the broadband, the happier the student, so you’ve got to have the lightning-fast wifi. College students want a convenient place to work out, and off-campus student housing developers recognize the need for that. At the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), for example, a student housing developer, B&L Properties, has provided a gym and clubhouse facility for residents of its multiple housing units.
In the digital age, off-campus housing in Indiana, PA, and elsewhere can be viewed in an online catalogue with photos and descriptions of rooms and locations.