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. In the first phase of this strategy the University is conducting a housing demand study that involves assessing the available student housing on campus and within the Guelph community. This includes consultation with our diverse student population to better understand their housing needs both now and in the future. The study will also examine housing supply for faculty and staff. It is expected that this phase of the strategy will continue throughout the 2023 / 2024 academic year.
The results of this study will inform the University’s Student Housing Strategy and be used by Student Housing Services and the Real Estate Division to develop a comprehensive, inclusive and forward-thinking housing plan. Updates on the Student Housing Strategy and other University initiatives and announcements related to student housing will be shared to this webpage.
- Explore opportunities to maximize the University’s existing housing capacity
- Continue to build community connections to increase student housing capacity within the Guelph community
- Request to lease the 785 Gordon Street building from 2023/24 academic year to 2025/26 academic year to provide an immediate increase to residence spaces
- Survey the University’s graduate students about their housing needs
- Begin conducting interviews with stakeholders within the Guelph community, including the city’s planning department, to gather information on the student housing supply
- Complete analysis of the University’s current housing supply
- Complete a survey of the Guelph community to understand what student housing projects are in the pipeline.
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
2024 and beyond
- Begin the next phase of the housing strategy which will include the implementation of the outcomes of the housing demand study
Frequently Asked Questions
The University has accommodated all first-year students interested in living in residence for the 2023-24 academic year and is looking to accommodate upper-level students who have applied to residence. This has been the standard process for years and one that we are focused on continuing.
The University has short and long terms plans to help provide residences spaces to students who are interested. In the short term, we have requested to lease the building at 785 Gordon Street to immediately increase the number of available residence beds for our students.
In terms of sustainable, long-term solutions to student housing, the University has developed a Student Housing Strategy. As part of this strategy, U of G is currently conducting a housing demand study. This involves assessing the available student housing on campus and within the community and consulting with our diverse student population – both undergraduate and graduate – to understand emerging housing needs. We are aiming to complete the housing demand study in winter of 2023.
The results of this study will help us better understand how the University’s current housing supply is meeting demand and how renovations and further development can meet projected needs. Updates will be shared with the University community as they become available.
The property is ideal for this short-term use as it contains the necessary infrastructure for a residence and is in close proximity to the University enabling students to easily access all the on-campus amenities.
Leasing the 785 Gordon Street property will increase the number of available residence beds by 160.
These additional beds will provide us with more flexibility in accommodating all first-year students interested in living in residence and in accommodating as many upper-year students, who have applied to live in residence, as we can.
However, this lease arrangement is a short-term solution to our needs. We are also focused on finding sustainable, long-term solutions. The University has undertaken a housing demand study that involves assessing the available student housing on campus and within the community and consulting with our diverse student population to understand current and future housing needs.
U of G’s Student Housing Services will manage this property as part of our student residence portfolio from September to April. We will provide the same supports and services as we do for other residences on campus, including 24-7 monitoring and a full complement of residence life staff.
Fall 2022 was unique in that we had a record number of accepted offers of admission and an increase in residence applications compared to previous years. The University has accommodated all first-year students interested in living in residence for the 2023/24 academic year and is looking to accommodate as many upper-level students, who have applied to residence, as we can. This has been the standard process for years and one that we are focused on continuing.
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 accommodate all residence requests from first-year students for the coming 2023-24 school year, 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.
International students do not play a role in the shortage of affordable student housing. At U of G, the international student population has remained fairly steady at 5-7 per cent of the University’s total student population and we are typically able to accommodate all first-year international students along with our first-year domestic students in our residences.
International students are an integral part of providing an enriched student experience filled with opportunities for our students to learn about cross cultural issues. As an institute of higher learning, we know that learning and problem-solving are most effective when you have a diverse population with a broad range of perspectives. International students will continue to be an important part of our community and any plans to welcome more international students to campus in the future will involve ensuring high-quality supports and services including available student housing.
U of G’s domestic enrolment has remained around the same level 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 have accommodated all upper-year students interested in living in residence for the 2023-24 academic year. However, upper-level students historically seek accommodations within the broader community.
As part of our Student Housing Strategy, we are also focused on helping to ensure our diverse student population can secure safe and affordable housing from first year to graduation. As part of this strategy, we are conducting a housing demand study that will help us better understand how the current housing supply both on campus and within the community is dealing with demand and how renovations and further development can meet projected needs.
A large portion of the University’s housing portfolio is comprised of traditional housing with shared bedrooms and a shared bath. As part of our Student Housing Strategy, we are focused on increasing the diversity in housing options so that we can better accommodate students’ living preferences, whether they are driven by personal, religious, or family needs. The study is focused on supporting our diverse student population’s housing needs from first year to graduation and may involve investigating options to expand student housing beyond the traditional residence buildings.
The University is committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment and having housing options that accommodate our diverse student population is essential to that.
Consultation is a significant component of the housing demand study. As part of the study, our diverse student population will be surveyed on their housing needs. Graduate students will be surveyed in spring and summer of 2023 and undergraduate students will be surveyed during fall 2023. There will also be consultations with community partners to understand the student housing that exists today and what is in the development pipeline. Having these extensive consultations will enable us to take a comprehensive approach toward accommodating expected future demand for student housing.
The housing demand study is expected to be complete in winter 2023 and the next step will be to prioritize the implementation of the study’s recommendations so that we can best meet our students’ housing needs. Recommendations may include re-developing existing residence buildings on University property; converting spaces in existing buildings into student housing spaces; conducting feasibility studies to assess the option of new builds; or exploring potential partnerships with developers.
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.
U of G is recognized as a leader in student housing and support of student transitions. Student Housing contributes to U of G’s high student retention rate as students move from first to second year and as they continue through university to graduation.
To maintain that high level of service, understanding and support of student needs, Residence Life staff and programming will continue to be overseen by the Office of Student Affairs. Student Affairs is responsible for the development of the person, scholar and citizen and understands the challenges faced by students as they transition to university and experience greater levels of independence. Having this understanding ensures the appropriate supports and resources are in place for students to succeed in all facets of their student experience.
The University 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.