For most colleges and universities, having students live on campus can provide a number of benefits, both in revenue and in classroom performance. So how can an institution maximize the benefits while creating an atmosphere that not only attracts a growing number of students, but also ensures that their experience is mutually beneficial? A comprehensive approach that emanates from the concept of providing improved value for the on-campus resident can have far reaching benefits for both student and school.
1. Increased Revenues
With a growing number of American colleges and universities struggling financially, strong revenues through on-campus housing and dining services are a stabilizing factor. By offering more modern and desirable living accommodations with improved amenities regarding meal plans, athletic and fitness facilities, and healthcare, schools can more effectively lure students out of their parent's homes and off-campus apartments. The prospect of having the convenience of living at school while getting more bang for your buck through increased options and inclusive services speaks directly to the needs of many contemporary college students.
2. Productive Scholars
A powerful way to make a case for on-campus living is to create an environment that embraces academic achievement and helps more students reach their potential. Making it an emphasis to supply the cutting-edge technology, access to computers and electronics, effective study facilities, and multiple layers of student support can go a long way to increase the value of on-campus living. Productive students not only stay in school (thus maintaining a healthy enrollment level), but also boost the college or university's output of everything from research to high-profile graduates for increased exposure and prominence.
3. Diverse Population
While a diverse campus population always reflects well on an institution, there is plenty of evidence that points to the benefits for students as well. If institutions can present multifarious options in everything from housing and dining plans, to social outlets and work-study opportunities, it becomes inviting to a broader pool when choosing a college. The goal is to bring together undergraduates, post-grads, and representation from a variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds to form a progressive campus culture.
4. Energized Community
Every traditional institution of higher learning should have the desire to foster a healthy, industrious, and appealing campus community - an environment that inspires its residents and energizes visitors, whether they are considering enrollment or returning as alumni. Investing in campus activities that promote student involvement, innovation, and community, such as on-campus food co-ops or student peer-mentoring programs, serve to build a community full of spirit and an experience that's safe, supportive, and increasingly attractive to high-quality applicants.
5. Higher GPAs and Grad Rates
Offering a well-rounded on-campus environment based on value that supports academic studies and represents the total college experience produces better results in the classroom. Rather than simply providing a place to eat, sleep, and study, the school might consider embracing the responsibility of offering a more holistic platform that promotes overall development. If successful, the student benefits from better grades and higher graduation rates, while the school is richly rewarded with improved rankings and reputation, student loyalty and trust, and stronger alumni ties and support.
Colleges and universities can benefit greatly by addressing the needs of their students living on campus. By providing increased value, a school will not only attract more residents, but also create a culture that harbors positivity and results.
Brian Spero is a contributor for Money Crashers Personal Finance, an online resource that shares tips and ideas related to managing money, running small businesses, and weighing different education and career options.