Financing Student Facilities

Nontraditional Revenue Generation and Public-Private Partnerships

Topics: Facilities and Operations, Administration and Finance

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Research Questions

  • What are the benefits of partnering with a private firm to construct or manage a student facility?
  • What should administrators consider as they initiate and negotiate a partnership?
  • How can a university best structure an arrangement to minimize impact the university’s debt balance?
  • What other nontraditional opportunities exist to generate revenue to subsidize a facility’s operating costs?


Shrinking state budgets and overloaded debt capacities have impeded institution’s ability to finance new student facilities, such as residence halls, student unions, and recreation centers. This report examines institutional partnerships with private firms for the construction and/or management of a student facility, with a focus on administrative considerations, timetables, and finances. It also highlights opportunities for revenue generation within new spaces.