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Luxury Student Housing’s Heyday Has Passed

Sarah Steimer

Colleges raced to update dorms and add exciting amenities in the early 2000s, but what dazzled millennials is now out of touch with Gen Z

“The millennials are coming.”

So rang the rallying cry of everyone working in higher education in the early 2000s. This enormous generation would need degrees, not to mention a place to rest between classes, jobs and socializing. The schools responded, spending large sums of money on residential housing. Investment peaked in 2010 at $12.94 million spent on students’ residences and recreation buildings.

Colleges weren’t the only organizations getting in on the student boom. Private companies also jumped in where schools were unable to keep up with demand. Some companies partnered with schools for on-campus housing while others built nearby. The competition rose as buildings went up, chock-full of tanning beds, pools and air hockey tables.

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Sarah Steimer is a staff writer for the AMA's magazines and e-newsletters. She may be reached at ssteimer@ama.org or on Twitter at @sarah_steimer.