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Student Housing Strategy

There is a shortage of affordable housing, including rental properties in cities across Canada. The Guelph community is no exception to this national problem that is impacting everyone who must rent, including the University’s student population. We understand the University cannot tackle this problem alone but we can work to be part of the solution. As part of our commitment to support students in securing safe and affordable housing both on campus and within the broader community, the University of Guelph is developing a Student Housing Strategy.

Work on this strategy began in fall 2022 and will continue over the next several years. Updates on the Student Housing Strategy and other University initiatives related to student housing, such as the Real Estate Strategy and Campus Master Plan, will be shared to this webpage.



Fall 2022

  • Explore opportunities to maximize the University’s existing housing capacity 
  • Continue to build community connections to increase student housing capacity within the Guelph community 

Spring/Summer 2023

Fall 2023/Winter 2024

  • Maintain oversight of Residence Life programming by Student Affairs to continue providing high-quality programs and services
  • Survey the University’s undergraduate students about their housing needs
  • Conduct stakeholder interviews
  • Complete the Housing Demand Study and provide recommendations for next steps
  • Begin the Real Estate Strategy, exploring opportunities for University-owned lands to deliver a mix of uses, including housing

Spring 2024

  • Begin the Campus Master Plan update, which will explore existing and new opportunities for on-campus housing

Fall 2024

  • The University expands residence space guarantee to incoming international students for the duration of their academic endeavours at U of G
  • Open house public consultation on the draft Real Estate Strategy

Winter 2025

  • Real Estate Strategy complete and work continues on Campus Master Plan

Frequently Asked Questions

University of Guelph students are experiencing what all university students across Canada are experiencing: there simply isn’t enough affordable rental housing available to accommodate the need. This affects everyone who must rent, including the student population.

While we have been able to consistently accommodate all residence requests from first-year students, we know that we need to develop short-term and long-term solutions to address the housing needs of our diverse student population. That is why we are currently developing a comprehensive Student Housing Strategy that will identify ways we can accommodate expected future demand for student housing through renovations of existing inventory and development of new buildings.

The University has consistently accommodated all first-year students interested in living in residence and guarantees residence spaces for incoming international and domestic out-of-province students.

Based on results from the University’s Housing Demand Study, U of G can now guarantee housing for the vast majority of international students beginning their studies in fall 2024 for the duration of their academic at the University. This includes international undergraduate and master students while PhD students will be accommodated for the first year of their studies.

In spring 2023, the University began leasing the building at 785 Gordon Street, which immediately added 160 residence beds for students. The lease goes up to and includes the 2025/26 academic year.

The University is committed to ensuring sustainable, long-term solutions for student housing. The findings from the Housing Demand Study will further inform the University’s decisions and plans for expanding student housing both on-campus and University-owned lands.

The University has consistently accommodated all first-year students interested in living in residence. The Housing Demand Study has also found the University will be able to continue these accommodations with its current housing supply.  

U of G offers on-campus housing to 20 percent of our total student population by consistently accommodating first-years’ requests to live in residence. This is nearly double the average offering of Canadian universities and nearly four times that of Canadian colleges.

To ensure the University will be able to continue these accommodations in the long-term future, we will be using the information from the Housing Demand Study to develop our Real Estate Strategy and Campus Master Plan, which will both inform whether the University will need to build further residences on campus.

The University plays an important role in addressing the shortage of affordable rental housing in the City of Guelph because this issue has a direct impact on our students. It is important there is collaboration between the University and the broader community as we move forward. Any strategies to increase student housing spaces on campus or within the city will have an impact on all community members who must rent.

The Housing Demand Study found that upper-year students typically prefer to live in the community surrounding campus and prioritize value over amenities. The study also found that purpose-built student housing facilities are limited to a few locations and are mostly at the higher end of the price range, which is not aligned with student needs.

U of G is continuing to collaborate with municipal and community partners to support the expansion of housing in Guelph for upper-year students and to find opportunities to ensure future builds will meet students’ needs.

The University also has a number of resources through Off-Campus Living to support students in securing safe and affordable housing. Some of these supports include providing one-on-one advising appointments to offer guidance on the process for searching for and securing housing; reviewing listing ads; and conducting lease reviews. Off-Campus Living also runs a community rental program that involves providing support to community members interested in renting a room in their home to a U of G student.

U of G’s domestic and international student enrolment rates have remained steady for several years. The challenges students are currently facing in securing safe and affordable rental housing is the result of changes in the housing market across Canada.

We will be using the findings from the Housing Demand Study to inform our own planning as well as our continued conversations with municipal and community stakeholders. The University is currently developing a Real Estate Strategy and Campus Master Plan, which are aimed at determining short and long-term sustainable solutions for supporting students in accessing housing.