Student bed boost puts UK on the HE map for 2019

Dan Baker, general manager, EMEA at Student.com examines key student accommodation trends

Ensuring students have a safe environment to study and develop while completing their higher education studies has been at the forefront of the industry agenda. With nearly 2.5 million students studying in the UK, there has been a focus on universities making as much accommodation available as possible. However, there has been a rise in purpose built accommodation to meet the increase in demand. Student.com has seen student bed bookings double in some cities over the last year, adding 250,000 additional beds to its portfolio of 1 million globally. In addition, as the student accommodation market is set to top £53bn by the end of 2019, what’s in store for the sector over the next 12 months?

Student.com has seen student bed bookings double in some cities over the last year

Balancing out

New purpose built student accommodation is specifically designed to meet the modern-day students’ needs, particularly well being, which has become a higher priority on both universities’ and student agendas. From gyms, to study-ready communal space and state-of-the-art entertainment areas, the student accommodation of today is a far cry to what previous generations may remember. The increase in availability and tailored design is closing the gap between university halls and purpose built student accommodation. Whereas previously purpose built student accommodation took just a small percentage, 53% of student accommodation now is being provided by universities.

Location, Location, Location

Student beds is one thing, but location is also key. After tuition fees, accommodation most often represents the biggest area of expenditure for students. Increasingly, location is becoming the first factor in a student’s search for accommodation, with requests into Student.com being focused around the commute to university buildings. However, students can expect a great deal of variation in the cost of accommodation depending on where they choose to study, with costs averaging from £263 a week in London, down to £97 a week in Preston.

Going global

With over two million students at universities across the UK, with some of those being from the UK, EU and further afield, the diversity of the global student cohort will continue. Compared to a decade ago, there are now more students making the decision to study abroad. Campaigns such as ‘Go International: Stand Out’ from Universities UK International work to break down cultural barriers, aiming to reduce concerns of international students about studying in the UK. Everything from getting set-up guides to videos explaining regional nuances are all focused on making students more settled. While there are questions and discussions around the impact that Brexit will have on the migration of students during their studies, what’s clear is the desire remaining of students wanting to study while experiencing a different culture.

During 2019 as the higher education industry as a whole weathers potential political storms, the collaboration between institutions, industry bodies and purpose built student accommodation providers will continue. As important steps in providing the ideal learning environment – both in and out of the lecture hall – have been taken by the wider industry, the focus is now on continuing to support the student of today, and tomorrow.