Campus 2025: The enrollment leader's guide to trends in campus design

Campus environment has a tremendous impact on recruitment and retention, which means that enrollment planning for the future will benefit from a high-level understanding of top trends in campus design.

Standards for classroom technology, non-traditional instruction settings, and student amenities continue to evolve, and students factor these design trends in their decision-making. Earlier this month, students submitting deposits for the Class of 2021 cited campus environment as a high-ranking reason why they selected another institution, according to Royall & Company's latest Deposit IQ study. Looking to attract future classes, enrollment managers wonder what trends are here to stay— and which design trends are "nice-to-have" versus must-haves.

EAB's Facilities Forum spoke with architecture firms, facilities leaders, CBOs, and provosts to answer these questions. The result was our Campus 2025 research series. In a recent webconference, we shared the campus design trends that are most relevant for enrollment managers looking to attract new student audiences and retain current students.

Community-centric residence halls

To compete for prospective students, institutions are increasingly providing luxury amenities within their residence halls, such as in-suite housekeeping and high-end pools and spas. Residence halls with larger community spaces, such as lounges, communal study spaces, and public kitchenettes, can also be used to boost social immersion and ultimately promote student retention. One institution cited in the study increased first-to-second-year retention rates by 13% by promoting community-centric living for underclass students.

Active learning classrooms

Active learning classrooms, which emphasize student questions and interactions through more flexible layouts, can enhance academic performance, leading to increased student retention and more tuition dollars. Students in active learning courses perform higher than their counterparts in traditional courses, even when both groups learn the same material. This improved academic performance often translates to higher retention rates and more tuition dollars. Some institutions from this research have also seen enrollment boosts, as prospective students and parents are drawn to the increased faculty attention and collaborative opportunities provided in active learning settings.

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