Georgia could become biggest test of private dorms | savannahnow.com

7
Apr

Georgia could become biggest test of private dorms | savannahnow.com

ATLANTA — Georgia is on course to become one of the nation’s largest experiments in privatized college dorms, but it’s unclear whether the changes will lower students’ bills at a time when university costs are soaring.

The new arrangements, which the state’s university system has been planning since 2012, would lease to private companies the future revenue streams from the dorms — essentially student rent. In exchange, such companies would oversee maintenance. Student housing on nine campuses is included in the first phase of the privatization plan backed by the system’s governing body, the Board of Regents.

At the start of these partnerships, universities may find themselves negotiating the things students care most about: amount of rent, which dorm they can live in and what happens to traditional arrangements like students serving as resident advisers. Georgia officials say they plan to maintain some control over rent and daily operations.

“We tell our clients there’s no such thing as something for nothing,” said Jason Taylor, vice president of consulting services for Scion Group, which works with universities considering such partnerships.

In recent years, universities nationwide have begun turning to private developers to replace 1950s-era housing as states cut budgets and send less money to universities. However, higher education experts say it will be years before they know whether the partnerships are good for students or for universities’ bottom lines.

via Georgia could become biggest test of private dorms | savannahnow.com.

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