The accommodation that students choose to live in whilst at university shapes their educational experience, their sense of belonging and ability to engage with their studies.
The enquiry completed explored student decision making around their accommodation over a 4 year period, using HESA data to match demographic information about students to their chosen accommodation. The research focussed on students that are considered as underrepresented in higher education defined as student from low income and participation backgrounds, black students, disabled, mature and care experienced students.
The key findings from the research show that your background influences your decision making about where you live, 68% of black students chose to live in self catered accommodation against a University average of 30%. The research showed that different halls had vastly different demographic makeup and that each hall has formed its own key characteristics based on the students that are choosing to live there which has been reinforced by knowledge communicated via social media, schools and personal circles.
The overall research has demonstrated that subcommunities of students are forming in accommodation and your background and information sources impact on where you decide to live in your first year. The impact of this decision making can further directly effect the experiences of students, with students from underrepresented groups choosing not to live directly on the University campus and much of this has been documented via social media and Student newspapers such as the Tab.
The research has also lead to further empirical research enquiry including examining the type of accommodation that students choose and the student’s academic attainment. The University will be completing research over the next two years examining the link between students choice of accommodation and their experiences to build an understanding of what creates an environment for student success within accommodation.