2007 Graduate Student Housing Survey A Joint Venture of the Graduate School and Graduate Student Organization
What did they tell us mattered most? • Having a Private Room • Price of the Stand Alone Rent • Overall cost of utilities • Having a landlord respond to problems • Funding Stability These items are rank-ordered. Each scored an average of 8 or higher on a 10-point Likert scale, indicating “Extremely Important or Higher” on average.
Other Important Considerations • Having a private kitchen • Consistent quiet • Availability of Transportation to campus • Having cost of Utilities included in rent • Inclusion of off-street parking • Snow removal provided by landlord • Proximity to Undergraduate Housing Each of these items scored between a 6 and 7.9 on a 10-point Likert Scale.
Special Considerations • Pets, Ability to House Children, Disability Access • The average rating responses for these items indicate relative unimportance (4.6, 4.0, 2.7 average response rating, respectively). • However, those with these special needs consistently rated these issues a 10, while others rated them between 1 and 3. • Conclusion: those with special needs will base their housing decisions based on those needs
What do they not find as important? • Some surprises: • The ability to accommodate spouses or domestic partners • The amount of the security deposit • The ability to sublet the unit • Whether or not the apartment is furnished Each of these items scored less than a 6 on a 10-point Likert Scale.
How much do they pay? • Stand-alone rent: $483/month • Utilities: $101/month • Home internet access: $27/month • Cable Television: $19/month • Phones – Home and Cell: $53/month • University Parking: $49/month • Average of the above costs: $733/month • Average security deposit: $512 These average numbers do not include the costs of food, clothing, books, travel, auto maintenance or gasoline, and any other typical expenses
Where do they currently live? • Less than 1 mile from campus: 30% • Between 1-5 miles from campus: 49.27% • More than 5 miles from campus: 16.34% Percentages based on 410 respondents. Of the respondents 4.39% declined to answer this question.
Where do they prefer to live? • Overwhelming response: University Neighborhood/ Westcott Area (1.98 average response where 1 is the highest preference out of 9 choices) • Other preferred neighborhoods: • North and South Campus • Armory Square Special Note: Graduate students preferred to live in all of the neighborhoods around the Connective Corridor, but only a few chose this as a preferred response. Focus groups suggested to us that the Corridor is such a new concept as a neighborhood, renters are currently unsure if it will fit their needs but are optimistic it could serve as a viable new territory for housing expansion
Where don’t they prefer to live? • Syracuse Suburbs: Camillus, Liverpool, Dewitt, Baldwinsville, etc. • Some movement trends to watch: • Tipperary Hill • Eastwood • Outer Comstock • Northside of Syracuse
When they choose a property, what do they prefer? • Home Security: Police/ Security Drive Through • Bathroom Access: Private Bathroom • Internet Access: Cable Internet Access • Lease Agreements: Academic Year • Unit Design: Renovated Old Construction • Want to live nearby: Grocery Stores
How satisfied are they? • With the University in helping them find housing?: • They gave SU a 2.52 rating out of 5 when asked how helpful the University was in assisting them in their housing search With their current landlords? - Not as upset as we thought - They gave their current landlords a 3.77 rating out of 5 when asked to rate their overall level of satisfaction with their current landlords.
Who responded? • Students who have been in residence for 2.9 years or less • Students who have already moved twice • 232 Masters Degree Candidates • 160 Doctoral Students • 3 Certificate Students • 4 Law Students • Average Age: 28 • 236 Females • 161 Males • 45 students with children • 292 Students from the U.S. • 37 countries represented by 118 International Students • Students who might consider living in campus housing under the right conditions
India Germany Uganda Chile Taiwan Ukraine Canada Italy Lebanon Argentina Mauritius Australia Czech Republic Estonia China Hungary Cambodia Romania Jamaica Peru Vietnam Barbados Yemen Kenya Turkey Costa Rica Ecuador Ghana Ireland Dem. Republic of Congo South Korea Malaysia Philippines Pakistan Brazil New Zealand Japan United States The Whole World Responded Graduate Students representing each of these countries of origin gave us data about their rental and buying habits for housing.
What Would Bring Them To Campus?: Manuscript Responses • Affordable Housing: No matter how you market the product, SU housing for graduate students will live and die on price – it was the biggest concern graduate students had • Living Away from Undergraduate Life: Controlled Noise Levels, Differentiated Complexes, and the Rejection of Standardized Housing showed up again and again in the manuscript responses • Freedom to Live as Adults: graduate students do not want to live under the same rules as their own students living in dorms or on South Campus. • Dogs and Cats: inability to keep them was one of the top reasons for rejecting campus housing • Same Bundle of Rights: They want to be able to paint, decorate, and bring in their families, children, and partners – all in the same way they would in any apartment rented from a local landlord • Safety, Security, Cleanliness: no rodents, bugs, or complexes with rampant crime
How do they find housing? • Orangehousing.com • Real estate agents • Word-of-mouth in Departments • Newspapers: The Post Standard and Syracuse New Times • Craig’s List • Internet Postings from Listservs • Trips to Syracuse before matriculation
Where do they currently live? • 2498 live in the City of Syracuse • 730 more live in Onondaga Co. or within an hour commute of campus • 623 live elsewhere in New York State • 741 live out-of-state or out of the country • Greatest population center: Westcott/ East Neighborhood Numbers based on a study of graduate student zip codes provided by the Graduate Enrollment Management Center
How do we compare to our peer institutions? • SU: 6% of housing reserved for graduate students • Cornell: 8% • Duke: 3% • NYU: 5% • Northwestern: 10% • Notre Dame: 6% • Penn State: 3% • Tulane: 1% • SUNY Albany: 2% • U. of Rochester: 44% • USC: 2% • Wash. U. of St. Louis, Georgetown, Boston University, and SUNY Binghamton: 0% U. of Rochester has managed to keep its end-user housing costs between $514-$770 dollars per month
Conclusions • Syracuse graduate students have found ways to adapt to the local housing market without assistance from SU, but there is room for improvement on all our parts to guide them toward quality housing or provide it to them ourselves. • We are part of a national trend toward under-serving graduate student populations in housing offerings, but this finding should not be construed as a justification. We, and our peers, can do better. • We can find ways to increase our offerings, provide a quality product that fits the demand, and bring our adult students back into a community of scholars on campus. • Slow and steady wins this race: it will take visible proof that the university can deliver an affordable graduate housing product before living on campus for graduate students becomes a first housing choice again. • Gradual development: not all graduate students want to come back to campus but many would be willing to do it if we offer them regular and gradual increases in our housing offerings in ways that fit their buying habits