California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Pomona,

Summer Student Housing Market Analysis

B&D was engaged by California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in 2014 to assess demand for summer student housing and opportunities to improve occupancy. In the previous several years, occupancy during the summer term had declined due to both general economic conditions and changes in how the University accommodated summer instruction. The objective of our study was to identify demographic trends, understand the competitive landscape of the off-campus housing market, determine demand for summer-term on-campus housing, and understand housing preferences of both on-campus residents and commuter students. This project began with a review of the university’s relevant documentation, including occupancy reports. Student focus group interviews were held to understand the key qualitative issues faced in identifying summer housing options. We also analyzed the area off-campus rental housing market. Finally, summer students were surveyed, the results of which quantified their on-campus housing preferences and interests and helped us assess potential market demand, which numbered 260 summer housing beds in traditional- and suite-style units—a significant increase over current occupancy and consistent with historical levels. Students also showed an interest in expanded summer course offerings, priority registration incentives, and a “rate lock” for the academic year. Our off-campus rental analysis demonstrated the strength of area housing, with an average 96.5% occupancy rate and increasing annual costs. As a result, we and the university discussed the need to evaluate the programmatic priorities of summer student housing and track on-campus summer student graduation rates and grade point averages. Incentives for summer on-campus residency were seen as an additional priority, along with a comprehensive marketing and events plan to provide greater visibility and augment student interest.