Students in Off-Campus Locations...
By Terri Scanlon,
planning as early as you can. Work with Admissions in reviewing enrollment
targets for the year. Use historical data regarding returning student
retention. Target your need for space as early as you can, as it will
allow for more time to plan.
your University and Enrollment Management policies for housing new students.
Does the University commit to housing all freshmen? All freshman and
sophomores? All students?
with Admissions/Enrollment Management to determine cut-off dates for
guaranteed housing. Understand the political climate of your University
and the drive for growth. Understand that these could easily outweigh
any cut-off dates that have been previously established.
- If your
housing shortage is anticipated to be short term, consider a 2-week
to 1-month arrangement with an area hotel to accommodate cancellations
and "no shows".
options available through leasing space in off-campus apartments, hotels,
or from other Universities who may have space vacancies.
relationships may exist between your University and an off-campus provider,
secure arrangements initially through letters of intent. Utilize your
legal counsel to finalize agreements through formal contracts. Remember
that without a formal legal agreement, your intended housing arrangement
could fall through.
and hotels, unlike off-campus apartments, have a comfort level with
the mass arrival and departure of individuals into and from their facilities.
Attempt to educate off-campus apartment providers as to the University
calendar, and the impact of having a large number of students checking
in and out of their facility during a condensed period of time.
the information that you send in your opening/check-in mailing. Eliminate
information that is not pertinent for students living in off-campus
locations (example: do not send linen sale information about twin-sized
beds to students living in a hotel with double-sized beds).
about the things that students need to know to relocate to and live-in
an off-campus location. Prepare publication materials that highlight
this information. Information that should be included relates to establishing
utilities, phone service, Internet access, laundry locations, nearby
shopping options, information on amenities or oddities related to their
housing accommodations, etc. Send this information with check-in materials.
- In setting
your rate costs for off-campus locations, consider amenities and price
comparatively with on-campus accommodations. In room rate marketing
materials, show both the billing rate, and the cost for additional estimated
that although students want housing, what you have to offer may not
be what they desire. Project occupancy levels in off-campus locations
apartment complexes will require the University to make special arrangements
with Utility companies to place leased apartments in their name. If
this is the case, determine what strategies you will use to educate
and motivate students to make personal arrangements for utility costs,
prior to their arrival on-campus.
existing apartment condition reports to meet the need of your off-campus
location. Inspect all apartments prior to move-in, and assess and bill
for damages when students move from the unit. In many instances, the
decision to secure off-campus accommodations is made late in the summer.
MAKE the time to inspect units prior to the arrival of your students.
in advance with your off-campus provider to understand their billing
structure for damages. Market these costs to students when they arrive,
to encourage damage reduction and apartment cleanliness prior to move-out.
what will happen programmatically in the facility, and what role will
the staff assigned in the facility assume. Set staffing levels accordingly.
current full-time Student Affairs employees who might be willing to
serve in liaison roles between students and management, in exchange
for free or half cost housing and a small stipend.
- If leasing
from another University, research and resolve details related to the
different policies that define staff roles (i.e. your policy may not
require a staff presence in the building on Thanksgiving or Christmas,
but the University from which you lease space may expect staff availability
in the building).
to move-out, market the costs for cleaning and maintenance repairs to
your residents. If high standards for cleanliness are required on the
part of Management, inform students of this and the related billing
move-out, walk through all Units with Management to come to joint closure
as to billing costs.
Things to Consider
that the lack of on-campus space will be frustrating to your students.
Make programmatic decisions carefully, as frustrations about overcrowding
and high enrollments may make your students particularly volatile.
involved in high enrollment situations, form allegiances with Student
Government and your Resident Student Association. Meet on an ongoing
basis with representatives from these groups regarding issues and concerns.
About the Author
has worked as a housing professional for 18 years, serving in the Chief
Housing Officer role for over 8 years. She has 12 years experience working
in various positions supervising renovations, maintenance operations,
housekeeping and grounds. She is currently serving in the position of
Managing Director for ResLife.Net.