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Do additional fees and amenities attract or deter Generation Z students?

Our panelists discuss how Gen Z is closely watching the value of college. Part 4/5

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<p>Speaker 1:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I'm curious, too, because you guys talked a lot about that generation Z is budget-conscious, and thrifty. As you guys probably know, there's an arms race on campus, bigger, better, faster. The dorms now are better than most apartments, so when generation Z comes to college with their generation X parents, I'm looking at it going, &quot;You don't need your own kitchen when you have the student center. You don't need the suite style.&quot; I wonder how do you think gen Z students are going to react to the over-the-top facilities?</p> <p>Speaker 2:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Yeah, and the financial realities associated with them. If they have to pay for them, they're probably not going to be happy about that, right? In some ways, no matter what happens, they're going to have to pay for them somehow, whether it's a direct fee, or whether it's their residence hall bill. Many of them are talking. We heard students say, &quot;I had to choose not to come to college at all because I couldn't afford to live in the residence halls, and there was a mandatory first-year residence hall policy.&quot; They're making choices about college-going based on the additional fees and the amenities that they are forced to pay for, so ... It's interesting, because this is a generation that could probably be very, very happy in a much smaller residence hall room, although we have gotten bigger and grander and this and that.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; They have to pay for it, and the idea is, could we have some more efficiency? Places for them to live that would cut down on costs. They don't have to be poorly constructed. They just have to be smaller units with less amenities, because they are getting ... They're getting priced out of tuition, but I think you're right. They're getting priced out of all these other things, these fancy things, this mandatory meal plan, and I get why you have to have it. I worked in a student union. My salary came from the mandatory meal plan. I understand it, but if those are the things that are making students not come, now not only are we not getting their meal plan and the residence hall money, we're not getting their tuition dollars, because they're just not coming at all.</p> <p>Speaker 3:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Now you're seeing things like the micro-unit.</p> <p>Speaker 2:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Mm-hmm (affirmative). It's very popular. Pod-housing.</p> <p>Speaker 3:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Especially in urban schools. I know Penn has one.</p> <p>Speaker 4:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; It will be interesting to see how those financial concerns ... If you have a student fee that pays for alterations, additions, renovations to your student union, and you have to go to a referendum and you have this group of people voting, saying, &quot;Hey, I don't want my ... Even though it's not going to affect me, but it will for three years down the road, I don't want those students to bear the burden of a 50, 60% increase in their student fee because we want to build a $30 million student union.&quot; It will be interesting to see what the pattern is.</p> <p>Speaker 5:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I would also say that when they have to try to justify the value or the increase in this tuition, where are they going to look? They're going to say, &quot;Okay, we're putting money into these academic labs, we're putting money into your education, we're putting it into residence halls where you're going to be staying,&quot; and I feel like that's where the student union really starts to suffer, because at least when I have had my interactions with the presidents and whatnot, it's always been, &quot;Well, what does the student union contribute to the academic mission of the university?&quot; That's where we also get stuck behind this eight ball, because for them it's like, &quot;We're going to build the top-rate facilities for students, for their education,&quot; because that's primarily where they're going is for their academic studies, so they're building these grand labs, these beautiful science and technology buildings, and the student union just keeps getting cut back and back and back and back, because it's not seen as fitting into that mission at most.</p>

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