U to re-evaluate housing strategy

Christopher Aadland

As more luxury housing options pop up near the University of Minnesota campus, school leaders are planning to revamp the institution’s student housing strategy, last updated in 2009. 
Some school officials said the University’s existing dorms and housing options are aging, causing more students to choose newer, privately developed apartments, which could be driving up the cost of attendance.
At a Board of Regents meeting last month, Vice President for University Services Pamela Wheelock told regents the school is working on building relationships with private developers around campus. 
“The definition of campus is changing,” Wheelock said at the meeting. “We have so many students living on the boundaries and the borders of campus.”
Private developers homed in on the University area to appeal to students’ housing needs that the University wasn’t meeting, said Susan Jennings, vice president of corporate communications and marketing for Education Realty, which manages the Marshall.
Jennings said students yearn to live independently and look for private housing options that have amenities like gyms and study lounges, which she said is hard to find in on-campus housing.
Regent Thomas Devine said those housing options, while attractive, often burden students with higher living costs. Devine said he’d like to see the University refocus its attention on increasing nonprofit and cooperative housing for students in the area.
Administrators are expected to present the new housing strategy at a board committee meeting next month.