Private, purpose-built student housing properties have become known for their luxurious amenities and state-of-the-art finishes. As this reputation has emerged and the cost of earning a college degree continues to rise, some have begun to question the affordability of these amenity-rich housing options. One common response to that criticism has been to argue that students living off campus in purpose-built student housing are getting much more for their money than students living on campus. Until now, no quantitative evidence was available to defend this response.
This paper presents a first step towards a comprehensive analysis of this issue. It examines the cost differences between different kinds of on-campus and off-campus housing options, including purpose-built student housing and student-competitive conventional apartments. In addition, this study presents a general assessment of how amenities, proximity to campus, bedroom offerings and the type of university appear to influence rental rates of the various housing types.