The Class Conference

How EU universities use new student housing models to compete

In-house tutors, multimedia rooms, swimming pools and 24-hour airport pick-up service? Don’t be mistaken, this is not the brochure of a swanky American campus. They are the trending services leading European universities and their student housing partners will present at The Class Conference on 2 and 3 November in Vienna, the annual event of The Class of 2020, Europe’s leading think tank on student housing. Co-founder Frank Uffen explains what the conference is about and why University Business readers should join the community in Vienna.

What is the Class Conference?

The Class of 2020 organises Europe’s largest and most international conference on student housing. We started in 2011 in Amsterdam to bring people together to fix the student housing shortage and visit new projects. The conference was an instant success. This year we expect over 550 international delegates from across Europe. We design a two-day programme with topics that unite the community involved in student accommodation at large, bringing together student housing specialists, higher education leaderships, policy makers, investors but also technology start-ups and trend-watchers. 

This year’s topic is “Learning hubs – The Future of the University City”. Please explain

Education and student living are moving away from classrooms and bedrooms respectively. They are increasingly merging and happening everywhere in-between: In hubs where minds meet, on campuses that invite you to linger and connect, in shared student kitchens, study areas and the local café. For those involved in campus life and student housing this provides different challenges and opportunities. We see a shift from building mono-functional residences and education facilities towards inspiring places where you can live, learn as well as build an international network of friends and even start a new business. Those learning hubs form the backbone of the future university city. 

Which conference topics are relevant for University Business readers?

Many European universities are aiming to increase their international student numbers to 25% or beyond so the competition for the UK universities is real. We will explore services and innovative hybrid models integrating student- and post-university living including co-working facilities and collaborations with for example refugee organisations. We will discuss how private investments can help European university cities including resident life and international student recruitment. We expect new opportunities for collaborations and partnerships between UK universities with European partners, despite the recent uncertainty brought on by Brexit.

Why Vienna?

We have selected Vienna as the host city of the conference because a high level of internationalisation of education and the investment in new residences can be experienced first-hand. Fast growing and home to almost 200,000 students, Vienna represents a learning hub laboratory with many inspirational housing and campus projects that will be visited on day one. 

Site tours and what else is on the programme?

Delegates can pick and choose from over 25 sessions to get up to date with the European student housing markets during multidisciplinary panel debates, trends and development presentations, insights into new research and workshops. We will have over 40 speakers including representatives from The City of Vienna, CUBO, ACUHO-I, New York University, Erasmus Student Network, the European Commission, Uniplaces and The Student Hotel. 

How can housing and university officers get involved?

The conference is open to everyone with a special discounted rate for housing offers and academics. The Class of 2020 have also introduced a new complimentary membership for housing and international officers of universities to provide them with additional training, networking and research opportunities.

Register for the conference at

For more information and to join the new membership email: [email protected]

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