Universities increasingly turn towards the private sector and public-private partnerships to meet student housing needs.

Partnerships vary in approach depending on the educational system, as well as the development partner that the college brings in.

In the case of Drexel University and American Campus Communities (ACC), the latter occupies university-owned property via a ground lease. ACC owns, operates and markets three student housing buildings and students can sign leases directly with the developer.

Drexel University Vice President of Campus Service Rita LaRue said that the Drexel-ACC partnership is collaborative. The two entities have a joint advisory board that regularly conducts meetings to discuss the services that students are provided in ACC housing.

LaRue said that Drexel’s primary motivator for seeking such a partnership was to ensure that its academic resources were being matched with its academic needs. The university also saw an opportunity to improve students’ access to affordable housing.

Universities such as Drexel appear to be looking for ways to free up their resources, so they can focus on their core competency: to provide the best education for their students. By working with private developers, universities can ensure students are given access to comfortable and affordable housing units without spending their resources on the efforts.

In another partnership, Corvias, another private student housing developer, entered into an agreement with the University System of Georgia Board of Regents to construct, develop and manage nearly 10,000 beds across nine campuses.

The partnership marks the first time that a state system privatized its entire student housing portfolio. This type of public-private partnership is relatively new in the student housing industry albeit this is seen in municipal infrastructure projects. Corvias also entered into a 40-year agreement with Wayne State University in Detroit. The deal involves renovation of over 3,100 existing beds and delivery of 841 new beds.

As students continue to flock to universities and colleges, industry experts predict that the strong demand for student housing will continue for years to come.

GSX Ventures has been involved in the design and planning of student housing projects since 1999. Our portfolio includes the 277-bed state-of-the-art Aspen Albany in New York and the 1200 West Marshall in Richmond, Virginia. Contact us today if you want to work with us to meet the growing demands for student housing.