The days of cramming undergraduates into shared rooms with a communal bathroom down the hall may be over.
As colleges and universities across the country consider how they will reopen in the fall, new protocols in the era of Covid-19 are not only changing how students learn, but also how they live.
Crowded dormitories and community bathrooms could be phased out entirely as schools move to single-occupancy rooms, instead of doubles or triples, in the wake of coronavirus crisis.
To get there, many colleges will need to overhaul their student housing offerings or find alternative arrangements that look substantially different from the typical dorm experience.
Most universities are trying to get out of the housing business.
— Jeff Amengual COO, DMG Investments
″Parents are very concerned about sending freshman into a dorm scenario, and rightfully so,”said Jeff Amengual, chief operating officer of DMG Investments.
DMG owns several student housing complexes serving schools such as Cornell University, Rice University, SUNY Albany, University of Houston and University of South Carolina. Some such property firms are also investment trusts that allow investors to gain exposure to this sector.
More schools have reached out to DMG this year, Amengual said, trying to secure living space for students.
“Most universities are trying to get out of the housing business,” he said. “They are land-locked and couldn’t expand if they wanted to.”
“The push is to outsource,” Amengual added.
Off-campus housing units like DMG’s are generally designed with one bedroom and bathroom per student — in addition to a shared kitchen and living area — and are thus already more in line with social distancing.
They’re also often considerably nicer than the typical undergraduate dorm.
These days, modern off-campus developments are packed with amenities such as pools, gyms, movie theaters and even a basketball court or ice rink, while the prices are comparable to on-campus housing.