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dshoost88

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It will honestly depend on how many applications they get. In the case of NU, they'll only increase enrollment if the number of applications is high enough that their acceptance rate goes down again.

Last I checked, it was hovering around ~18-19%. I wouldn't be surprised if they're aiming to get that down closer to 15%.
Perhaps they'll have a small push for increased enrollments, especially with a handful that decided upon a gap year, but after that, the literal number of students in the applicant pool is going to drop, as a result of the decrease in births following 2008, which hasn't increased year over year since then. The class entering in 2026 will be the largest class for quite a while. Maybe it sounds far out, but for universities spending millions on faculty salaries, facility enhancements (with multi-decade long loans attached) and 10, 20, 30-year-campus planning studies, all while boosting your ranking, you have to look very far ahead.

If you're going to maintain your selectivity, that means you're going to accept less students (unless you maintain your applicant pool numbers, which I touch upon later). That means less income to maintain all the new buildings, their debts, and fresh faculty/research hires.

If you want to maintain the number of students so you can financially support all the costs racked up during the boom in students, that means increase your acceptance rate but risk a drop in your overall ranking.

I've personally sat in a few of these kinds of meetings. They thoroughly analyze every statistical trend and every imaginable scenario and what it means financially and operationally. Perhaps NEU has gone through their data and thinks they have enough momentum to hit the highest rankings possible to continue drawing in applicants and continue increasing selectivity, but that's a multi-tiered uphill battle. Good on them if they win it.
Interesting news development today: RECORD NUMBER OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS APPLY TO NORTHEASTERN FOR FALL 2021

The school's citing their COVID-19 preparedness as a factor for the record. Per the article:
Liz Cheron, dean of admissions at Northeastern, credits the university’s well-executed reopening as a factor that attracted a larger-than-ever number of students who want the on-campus Northeastern experience.

“We have a successful case study this year that builds confidence for students and families that are hyper aware—having lived through hybrid or virtual high school education—of what it means to be able to attend Northeastern in person,” she says.
I won't sidetrack the conversation any further from the development in question, except to tie in together the cost-of-housing discussion on this thread: as long as there's a growing market for students to attend higher education institutions on-campus like at Northeastern University, we will continue to see a number of students' families able/willing to live in these premium, on-campus residence halls.
 

JumboBuc

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Interesting news development today: RECORD NUMBER OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS APPLY TO NORTHEASTERN FOR FALL 2021

The school's citing their COVID-19 preparedness as a factor for the record. Per the article:


I won't sidetrack the conversation any further from the development in question, except to tie in together the cost-of-housing discussion on this thread: as long as there's a growing market for students to attend higher education institutions on-campus like at Northeastern University, we will continue to see a number of students' families able/willing to live in these premium, on-campus residence halls.
Harvard, Tufts, and BU have also announced record numbers of applications this year. It appears that MIT and BC haven't published numbers yet, but MIT has reported record early applicants and BC is coming off an all-time high from last year that'll probably be exceeded again. Pretty much across the board we're seeing large competitive universities report record-breaking applicant totals this year. Part of this is that it was easier for HS students to apply broadly this year, as tours and campus visits moved online and colleges and universities loosened their application criteria during the pandemic (for example, many competitive universities are waiving the typical requirements that students submit standardized test scores this year). The pandemic application process has also led to more diverse applicant pools at competitive 4-year universities (college-bounds kids who are applying are doing so more broadly) but hurt minority enrollment at community colleges (kids who may or may not apply to college at all have been hit hardest by the pandemic are ending up not applying).

It remains to be seen if application numbers will drop once the pandemic is over and things return more to normal, but there's definitely an ongoing trend in which large high-dollar universities with international footprints are seeing increasing interest while smaller, lesser-known schools are seeing a decrease in applications and admissions. This mirrors the overall globalization and consolidation trend that's happening in just about every industry.

This will work in favor of Greater Boston's large research universities going forward but will hurt the various smaller colleges across New England.
 
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TomOfBoston

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Interesting news development today: RECORD NUMBER OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS APPLY TO NORTHEASTERN FOR FALL 2021

The school's citing their COVID-19 preparedness as a factor for the record. Per the article:


I won't sidetrack the conversation any further from the development in question, except to tie in together the cost-of-housing discussion on this thread: as long as there's a growing market for students to attend higher education institutions on-campus like at Northeastern University, we will continue to see a number of students' families able/willing to live in these premium, on-campus residence halls.
The problem with the large increase in applications (BU had a similar increase) is determining the yield. In other words how many accepted students will actually enroll. Last year Northeastern increased the acceptance rate from 18% to 20% anticipating a lower yield and they ended up 300 students overenrolled.

And these applications/yield figures are not only used in the rankings but also in submissions to bond rating agencies and in applications for the bonds that finance the construction of academic buildings.
 

DAVE

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I think there are valid arguments lobbied at this development though. Northeastern continues to use these luxury dorms as recruitment strategies vs. actually creating new dorms. Net new dorms for this large development is not that many, and we know the cost per bed for students is ridiculous->students will continue to choose to live in Roxbury/MH/Fenway etc. because both supply and costs. I think the height concerns weaken their argument but either way, this cannot be easy for Roxbury residents to see as they continue to have challenges with NU students being problematic in Roxbury housing (both in behavior and the rent increases they cause for residents).

Also, so many Roxbury residents already don't know about Northeastern Crossing and other community benefits that NU prefers to have as a bullet point for their community benefits updates.

Lastly, the school has a lot of money to spend (and they don't have to pay their full share of taxes). Asking that they prioritize a BIPOC community, one that their police force, students etc. have harassed for many years now is the bare minimum.
 

JumboBuc

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I think there are valid arguments lobbied at this development though. Northeastern continues to use these luxury dorms as recruitment strategies vs. actually creating new dorms. Net new dorms for this large development is not that many, and we know the cost per bed for students is ridiculous->students will continue to choose to live in Roxbury/MH/Fenway etc. because both supply and costs.
I don't follow this logic. How can Northeastern provide "luxury dorms as recruitment strategies" without "actually creating new dorms"? If "net new dorms" doesn't increase much because old dorm buildings are shifted over to the general rental market as new dorm buildings are built, that's an even better expansion of the housing stock! Every student living in a new building is one fewer student living in an existing building. Rich kids living in expensive new buildings keeps those rich kids from bidding up the prices on neighboring properties.
 

DAVE

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I don't follow this logic. How can Northeastern provide "luxury dorms as recruitment strategies" without "actually creating new dorms"? If "net new dorms" doesn't increase much because old dorm buildings are shifted over to the general rental market as new dorm buildings are built, that's an even better expansion of the housing stock! Every student living in a new building is one fewer student living in an existing building. Rich kids living in expensive new buildings keeps those rich kids from bidding up the prices on neighboring properties.
Because you could have many more students if you didn't use 1/3 of the space towards luxury amenities that these buildings contain. I went to BSU and our dorms did not have anything close to the space and amenities that these dorms have.


Also, very expensive dorms ATTRACTs very rich students. They aren't trying to recruit poor Black and Brown students from Roxbury with these dorms.
 

Zash

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Because you could have many more students if you didn't use 1/3 of the space towards luxury amenities that these buildings contain. I went to BSU and our dorms did not have anything close to the space and amenities that these dorms have.


Also, very expensive dorms ATTRACTs very rich students. They aren't trying to recruit poor Black and Brown students from Roxbury with these dorms.
You’re creating quite a paradox here. A lot of NU students complain about the quality of certain dorms, specifically the LPs. The whole point of this building is for the university to get out of those LPs (as part of a plan with the city) to not only appease said students who are not satisfied with residential living, but get those leased properties back out into the market for members of the surrounding community.

Again I say, damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
 

DAVE

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You’re creating quite a paradox here. A lot of NU students complain about the quality of certain dorms, specifically the LPs. The whole point of this building is for the university to get out of those LPs (as part of a plan with the city) to not only appease said students who are not satisfied with residential living, but get those leased properties back out into the market for members of the surrounding community.

Again I say, damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
I don't think their issues with those dorms wasn't that they didn't have their own private gym, exclusive views etc. Its probably that they are in such a state of disrepair. I'm not suggesting NU doesn't build any new dorms.
 

Zash

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I don't think their issues with those dorms wasn't that they didn't have their own private gym, exclusive views etc. Its probably that they are in such a state of disrepair. I'm not suggesting NU doesn't build any new dorms.
So if you don’t expect NEU to not build any new dorms, then you know a dorm would be going up. Why then, would NEU go ahead with a year long construction process and spend all this money without including some amenities? You expect them to only do the bare minimum?

Some of the complaints students have with some of the freshman dorms is that they are lifeless and basically just cinderblock prison cells. I don’t think anyone is looking for a repeat of either Stetson East or Stetson West. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the university trying to make the college living experience as comfortable as possible for students who are paying thousands of dollars in tuition.
 

TomOfBoston

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Because you could have many more students if you didn't use 1/3 of the space towards luxury amenities that these buildings contain. I went to BSU and our dorms did not have anything close to the space and amenities that these dorms have.


Also, very expensive dorms ATTRACTs very rich students. They aren't trying to recruit poor Black and Brown students from Roxbury with these dorms.
What is BSU? Ball State University? Bridgewater State University? If you graduated some time ago and went back you would likely see that they have some fancy new dorms too.
 

dshoost88

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They aren't trying to recruit poor Black and Brown students from Roxbury with these dorms.
Sorry DAVE, I'm megaphoning 'BS' on that claim. Not only does Northeastern's press release note that "Applications from students identifying as Black or African American increased by 29 percent," but Northeastern has a big menu of scholarship opportunities exclusively for Boston Public High School students. And the university administers Foundation Year.

Don't peddle misinformation.
 

sm89

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So if you don’t expect NEU to not build any new dorms, then you know a dorm would be going up. Why then, would NEU go ahead with a year long construction process and spend all this money without including some amenities? You expect them to only do the bare minimum?

Some of the complaints students have with some of the freshman dorms is that they are lifeless and basically just cinderblock prison cells. I don’t think anyone is looking for a repeat of either Stetson East or Stetson West. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the university trying to make the college living experience as comfortable as possible for students who are paying thousands of dollars in tuition.
As someone who lived in Stetson West just over 10 years ago, I liked it. My other NU dorms [Loftman, 110 St Stephen, 144 Hemenway (nice new facade now!)] also worked well for me. I always opted for the older buildings because they were cheaper than West Village, Dav, etc., which also lacked a lot of character and craftsmanship since they were so new at the time and purpose-built.

Northeastern does not have a problem attracting students. The joint venture with ACC makes this whole thing seem more like an "investment" than an attempt at trying to bring students back to campus. ACC is not a charity, it wants to make money in the arrangement. I didn't move off campus because I sought better housing with more bells and whistles, it was because I wanted my own room for $700/month instead of sharing a room in a "nice" building for $1,400/month. You also get to choose your own roommates, have parties, no guest policies, a year-long lease (stability), etc. How does NU plan to overcome the "real" reasons that students don't want to live on campus?
 

JumboBuc

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I didn't move off campus because I sought better housing with more bells and whistles, it was because I wanted my own room for $700/month instead of sharing a room in a "nice" building for $1,400/month. You also get to choose your own roommates, have parties, no guest policies, a year-long lease (stability), etc. How does NU plan to overcome the "real" reasons that students don't want to live on campus?
As someone who has no affiliation with Northeastern, does NU's dorm capacity exceed its occupancy? I.e., does NU have dorm rooms that stay empty? If not, then it doesn't seem like there's any problem with students not wanting to live on campus. If the dorms are full then they're doing their job as far as the greater housing market is concerned.
 

DAVE

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What is BSU? Ball State University? Bridgewater State University? If you graduated some time ago and went back you would likely see that they have some fancy new dorms too.
I graduated from Bridgewater State in 2018..
 

TomOfBoston

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As someone who has no affiliation with Northeastern, does NU's dorm capacity exceed its occupancy? I.e., does NU have dorm rooms that stay empty? If not, then it doesn't seem like there's any problem with students not wanting to live on campus. If the dorms are full then they're doing their job as far as the greater housing market is concerned.
On campus housing at Northeastern is at capacity. There are no empty rooms. If a student drops out of the university a new room mate is usually assigned within a week to fill the room.

And while many if not most freshmen and sophomores may not mind living in a Stetson type building by junior and senior years most seek less restrictive off campus apartment style housing.

One reason for Northeastern (and other universities including some public universities, partnering with ACC and other similar companies) is the debt load on the school's finances. These universities are reserving their borrowing to build academic facilities such as ISEC and EXP. The debt is borne by ACC. Also, if demand for university housing were ever to fall these apartment style buildings could be made available to faculty and staff and if still not full to the public. That is not likely in Northeastern's case.
 

BentFryingPan

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As someone who has no affiliation with Northeastern, does NU's dorm capacity exceed its occupancy? I.e., does NU have dorm rooms that stay empty? If not, then it doesn't seem like there's any problem with students not wanting to live on campus. If the dorms are full then they're doing their job as far as the greater housing market is concerned.
Northeastern has been in somewhat of a housing crisis in the past few years actually. I was off campus after my second year (about four years ago now), but even by then people were having so much trouble getting housing in dorms that people were ending up in mission hill as sophomores, which by the way was strictly not allowed. It got so bad that the admin famously put freshmen in the Midtown Hotel and in some BU dorm at Packard's corner.

It's very easy to call foul on Northeastern's admin, and the students and community do so often and unsparingly (and sometimes even deservingly), but ultimately this project is a probably a good thing for the area. There are fair fears of people being priced out due to the influx of people into that side of the tracks, but that's happening project or not.
 

TomOfBoston

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I graduated from Bridgewater State in 2018..
And it is these rich kids, especially international rich kids, who pay full price that provides most of the need and merit based financial aid that Northeastern offers lower income students.
 
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JumboBuc

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On campus housing at Northeastern is at capacity. There are no empty rooms. If a student drops out of the university a new room mate is usually assigned within a week to fill the room.
Northeastern has been in somewhat of a housing crisis in the past few years actually. I was off campus after my second year (about four years ago now), but even by then people were having so much trouble getting housing in dorms that people were ending up in mission hill as sophomores, which by the way was strictly not allowed. It got so bad that the admin famously put freshmen in the Midtown Hotel and in some BU dorm at Packard's corner.
Okay, thanks, that was my understanding. If NU's dorms are this full, then there must not actually be any problem with kids "not wanting to live on campus." If the dorms are full then they're doing their job, and the more dorms that can be filled the better.
 

bigpicture7

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Okay, thanks, that was my understanding. If NU's dorms are this full, then there must not actually be any problem with kids "not wanting to live on campus." If the dorms are full then they're doing their job, and the more dorms that can be filled the better.
You guys are talking past each other. If a school with 10,000 students builds/sustains a total of 100 dorm beds and has no trouble renting them all for a million dollars a year each, then yes, that school doesn't have a problem with demand for its beds. But it's also not a particularly good steward for its students or community.

If that same school builds 10,000 dorm beds and charges $100/year each, rents all of them and goes bankrupt, then it is not a particularly good steward for its students or its community.

If that same school builds 10,000 dorm beds and tries to charge a million dollars a year for them and only rents 100 of them, then it is not a particularly good steward for its students or its community.

So, what we have learned from all of this is that there's more than one way to be a lousy housing provider as a university.
 

DZH22

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How many new applicants this year decided to take a year off so their freshmen years weren't ruined by a Covid environment? Miss out on the last few months of senior year, prom, graduation, etc etc etc, only to be told that you aren't allowed to party or do other typical college activities as a freshman. Tough to make friends when you can't even see each other's faces. If I graduated HS in 2020, I would have seriously considered delaying college by a year.

It's going to take a couple more years to find the equilibrium where we can trust the numbers as "normal" again.
 

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