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Freshman College Applications Unaffected by Recession

student housingHigher education has not become a collateral victim of the Great Recession, finds Enrollment Trends in the Recession, a new white paper from the National Student Housing Council, a subsidiary of the National Multi Housing Council.

The report analyzes enrollment trends at 56 public and private universities to see if the economic downturn caused a decrease in enrollment. Overall, freshman applications were up 20 percent from the fall of 2008 to the fall of 2010. Twenty-three of the schools reported a gain in the number of freshman applications of 25 percent or more; only four showed a drop in freshman applications.

The highest growth was recorded by the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, which reported a 56% increase in freshman applications.

As just one case study, said Jim Arbury, NMHC’s Vice President of Student Housing, Stanford University reported a 35 percent increase in freshman applications for 2010. It accepted 2,300 of the 34,200 applicants and ultimately enrolled 1,700 freshmen.

Enrollment Trends in the Recession finds encouraging news for the private, off-campus student housing industry, added Arbury. A 20% increase in freshman applications during a recession is noteworthy. Importantly, though, firms considering entering this sector should not take it lightly given the unique”and often demanding”requirements for success in this sector. In some cases, too many firms have jumped into the student housing sector without fully analyzing actual individual markets. This has led to serious overbuilding at some campuses.

This white paper and more will be discussed at the 2011 NMHC Student Housing Conference and Exposition, to be held October 3 and 4 at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, AZ.

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