Walsh College is a private business school that has two main campuses in Troy and Novi and offers classes at two other university center locations, as well as online. Classes are also offered in Clinton Township, Macomb County, and in Port Huron at the University Center at St. Clair County Community College.
Walsh College engaged The Scion Group and IDS as a team to conduct a market and demand study to explore the potential demand for new College-affiliated housing. Walsh, an upper-division and graduate business school offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees, does not currently offer student housing. The College was interested in learning whether students were interested in housing, if campus housing would improve student recruitment and retention, continue to diversify enrollment, and add to an already enriching academic experience.
In conducting the study, Scion used a variety of investigative and information-gathering tools. These included meetings and workshops with College stakeholders, student focus groups and whiteboard sessions, research on the off-campus rental market, and the administration of an online student survey. These data points were reviewed within the context of a recently completed strategic plan, outlining the strategies for College growth and development.
With an enrollment of 1,200 to 1,950 students (depending on the time of year) and a significant number of part-time, non-traditional aged students, Scion recommended that Walsh wait to pursue campus housing. Enrollment numbers and demographics may change because of several planned enrollment initiatives, and subsequently, may increase student housing demand. Walsh will re-evaluate demand if the enrollment shifts are realized but, in the meantime, may consider unique housing solutions for its students. Scion recommended further investigation of the following: master-leasing a block of existing off-campus apartments, explore a partnership with neighboring community colleges or partnering with a developer accustom to developing and managing multi-family housing properties with fewer than 50 units. Finally, Scion provided a “Campus Readiness” analysis and outlined steps for the College to continue to increase institutional “readiness” for future campus housing, should demand develop in the coming years.