Student Housing Planning
As the University plans for the future, a comprehensive review of on-campus student housing is underway. The overall objective is to evaluate student housing in terms of its impact on student retention and student recruitment.
The University is committed to conducting this process transparently and will keep key university bodies informed of the status at key junctures. This includes Student Government, the University Budget Council, Residence Life, Faculty Senate and the All-Union Council.
As part of this project, a variety of data were gathered from numerous sources, including the following:
- A comprehensive survey of students was completed and student focus groups were held to assess what students are looking for in terms of space and design and to assess their views of the pluses and minuses of living on campus.
- A market study evaluated on-campus vs. off-campus living options (i.e., unit configurations and costs).
- A study was completed to assess the competitive landscape—what other universities are doing to upgrade their student housing and attract new students and retain existing students. This information is readily available as other universities have made public announcements of their housing plans.
- EMU’s Facilities and Operations Division has developed a preliminary outline of the expected future renovation and maintenance requirements and costs to ensure Eastern’s student housing remains desirable to future prospective students.
The information gathered in each of the four areas outlined above has been presented to a variety of key audiences at the University. The housing master plan update presentation [PDF] has been shared at meetings with:
- The University Budget Council
- Student Government
- Residence Life
- Administrative leaders
The presentation includes:
- results of the student survey.
- extensive data gathered on student housing costs on and off campus.
- an analysis of the mix of unit configuration based on the University’s current stock compared with student desires.
- what our competitors are doing to upgrade their housing systems.
- expected future renovation and maintenance costs for our current housing.
The level of future investment necessary in order to renovate and maintain Eastern’s student housing and align it with student demand is significant—the details are included in the presentation.
Given these realities, the University has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to assess whether a third-party partner could add value to this process. This allows the University to gauge the level of interest and potential outside investment.
A RFQ review committee—which included individuals from University Budget Council, Housing & Residence Life, Facilities & Operations, Academic & Student Affairs, Business & Finance and other areas—reviewed responses to the RFQ. On February 1, 2019, the review committee unanimously supported a recommendation to President Smith to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to four firms recommended by the review committee. That recommendation was delivered to President Smith on February 14, 2019.
On February 28, 2019, based on the review committee's recommendations, President Smith asked the consultants hired by the University to assist with the Housing Master Planning process to draft an RFP for the president's review. That process is underway. Based on the draft document, the president will decide whether the University should issue an RFP. If issued, the RFP would solicit specific proposals from the four firms identified by the review committee for a comprehensive partnership to enhance EMU's housing facilities and operations. Any responses to an RFP would be evaluated by a committee of campus stakeholders. At this time, the president has not reviewed a draft RFP and thus no further action has been taken.