Appalachian State University


Faculty/staff Housing Study

B&D was hired by Appalachian State University in 2015 to assess the institution’s current faculty/staff housing situation. The primary goals of this project were to assess the current housing situation for university employees and provide recommendations for how to enhance it, if necessary. Working with representatives from the university’s faculty and staff, we developed a project work plan consisting of:

• Strategic Asset Visioning sessions to ground the project objectives in the University’s ideals and initiatives
• Focus groups with faculty and staff to discuss opinions and understand important aspects of the current market as they relate to faculty / staff housing
• An off-campus market analysis to understand the University’s competitive position relative to off-campus offerings
• A Web-based survey of faculty and staff members to gain quantitative data and better understand their current housing patterns and future preferences
• Predictive analytics that translated survey responses into a demand profile
• Financial modeling that evaluated the feasibility of the potential options and solutions presented

We determined that access to quality housing options was strategically important for the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff, Boone County was the preferred housing site, and faculty and staff members with less than five years’ employment at the university were most in need of additional housing support. The analysis also demonstrated that home ownership was the key differentiator in housing satisfaction levels and that renters identified housing affordability as the primary obstacle for home ownership. Our overarching recommendation was that providing enhanced access to home ownership for faculty/staff members employed five years or less is the most effective way to fulfill the university’s strategic workforce recruitment and retention objectives. Several potential solutions were presented, including establishing a resource center for housing market information and contacts, a university-sponsored financial assistance program and community of for-sale housing, and available rental and/or transitional housing for incoming and current faculty and staff members.