Global Student Living Index (GSL Index) data highlights year after year that students who live in private halls have higher overall levels of satisfaction. However, the 2023 Q2 data highlights that while private halls continue to outperform universities in key areas, the gap between private and university halls is closing, and there are areas where university halls outperform their private counterparts.
- Management – private halls continue to lead on satisfaction with management, however, students in private halls are less satisfied with management than previously. In 2023 Q2 satisfaction with overall management dropped from 79% to 77% while satisfaction with overall management in university halls increased from 71% to 75%. This may be confirmation that higher levels of rent come with higher expectations. Improvements in the level of satisfaction with management in university halls were driven primarily by improvements in satisfaction with university hall staff friendliness (75% to 79%), maintenance (64% to 69%), and responsiveness (65% to 69%).
- Social Statements – there is no difference between private and university halls when it comes to the number of students who say they feel a strong sense of community (53%). However, university halls outperform private halls in terms of the number of students who say they have formed close friendships (68% vs. 63%) and the number of students who say they enjoy socialising in their accommodation (63% vs. 58%).
- Wellbeing – students living in university halls are more likely (21%) to say that their accommodation has a negative impact on their wellbeing than those in private halls (14%). This may partially be linked to conflict with others – 22% of students in university halls say they struggle getting on with others in their accommodation vs. 18% of those in private halls. Students in private halls are more likely (64%) to say that their accommodation team cares about their wellbeing than those in university halls (57%).
- Facilities – students in private halls are more satisfied than those in university halls with facilities. While there is not a lot of difference between private halls and university halls when it comes to satisfaction with bedroom space, the area where private halls perform much better is in satisfaction with the availability of communal spaces and bathroom facilities.
The difference in levels of satisfaction with facilities is not a surprise – private halls in many locations are often newer and ‘shinier’ than university halls. However, GSL’s new global KPI for student accommodation, the Index Score, designed to provide a measure to allow operating performance to be evaluated independently from the underlying condition of the building (the Operational Delta) shows a private sector Operational Delta of -0.7, while universities achieved an Operational Delta of +2.1. The results suggest that, given similar stock, universities would significantly outperform their private sector counterparts.
The upcoming GSL Live event provides an opportunity to learn from others in the sector and will include sessions on student wellbeing as well as a Masterclass in designing the student wellbeing journey from booking and departure, but tickets are selling fast! Visit the GSL Live event page for more information.