The University of Michigan was founded in 1817; now more than 43,000 students are enrolled in the University’s 19 schools and colleges. The University provides housing to approximately 9,300 undergraduate students and 1,100 graduate students in 23 residence halls and apartment communities.


Following a competitive request for proposals, the University of Michigan engaged Scion Advisory Services to complete market studies for both graduate and undergraduate housing. The University had completed renovations on a portion of the housing stock and was about to open a new graduate residence, resulting in a large number of beds coming online or back online in a single year. Additionally, the off-campus housing market in Ann Arbor had seen a significant increase in new construction in the years leading up to the Scion study.


Scion assessed the position of the University’s on-campus housing in the Ann Arbor market, conducted a financial analysis of housing revenue and expenses against a variety of benchmarks, and provided a review of and recommendations for housing marketing materials. In completing the market studies, Scion interviewed key stakeholders, facilitated student focus group sessions and an online student survey, led large group feedback sessions and examined the Ann Arbor housing market for both undergraduate and graduate-level students.

In concert with the assessment of existing housing, Scion’s scope was extended to include the development of a framework plan for addressing the balance of non-renovated University housing communities. Along with architecture and cost estimating firms engaged by the University, Scion examined options for addressing the facilities, analyzed specific physical and financial scenarios for the renovation/replacement of the facilities, and examined the implications and opportunities represented by each scenario. Scion’s work included review of existing facility and campus master plans, University housing financial performance data, occupancy and capacity information, debt service obligations and student satisfaction information. Scion and the architecture firm conducted a full day of in-service workshops for University stakeholders. These planning exercises had the goal of establishing parameters for the renovation/replacement and delivery/ financing options, as well as gaining an understanding of the guiding principles and institutional context of the facilities from a collective, physical, planning and student life perspective. Scion’s recommendations were adopted by University leadership and delivered to the University’s Board of Regents in early 2015.


Scion’s scope was broadened further to include development of a comprehensive marketing plan for a new 640-bed graduate student housing facility that opened in Fall 2015. The marketing plan included timelines as well as recommended marketing communication, advertising and collateral materials. The University engaged Scion to design and develop the community’s website, produce promotional videos, and prepare other materials. The building opened with occupancy at 100% of capacity and additional applicants waitlisted.

Beds in Graduate Student Housing Facility

Other Operations Consulting case studies

Talk with our team