SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) may begin offering on-campus housing at its Taylorsville campus, likely entering a public-private partnership to make it happen. The state higher education board approved the plan Friday, authorizing the school to partner with a private developer and operator so long as it’s approved by the Utah Attorney General’s Office.
The plan would provide 350 beds in apartment-style dorms. The move comes as SLCC and the Utah System of Higher Education embraced a commitment to make education more accessible.
“More and more we’re hearing from our students that they’re insecure around housing, that they’re insecure around food accessibility, that they’re looking for affordable housing,” SLCC President Deneece Huftalin told members of the board’s Finance and Facilities Committee.
Sometimes we hear from students that their home environment is not the best place for them to be really engaged in college. There’s a lot of things pulling at them in terms of their focus in college.”
The proposal marks a shift in how students view community colleges and could pave the way for more schools to offer campus housing. It also falls in line with national research showing students perform better academically when they live on campus, citing closer ties to their college membership.
Huftalin said she noticed the shift in opinion and started discussing the idea with Taylorsville officials. In 2020, the college brought in the Scion Group — the nation’s largest private owner/operator of student housing communities — to pursue a partnership.
“Quite frankly, community colleges are probably half of our client book right now,” Ted Risher, Scion Group’s senior project executive, told the Deseret News. “We probably have 10 or 12 active community college clients in all phases of development.”
According to Scion’s market and data analysis, both first-generation and international students report a growing interest in campus housing.
“We knew going in that our student-athletes would benefit from housing and that our international students would benefit from housing,” Huftalin said. “But what came out of this study was, we also have first-gen students and students with families who were also very interested in housing.”
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