Is Private Enterprise More Efficient Than The Public Sector When It Comes to Student Housing?
Site of the balcony collapse at the
University of North Texas

Campus Crest Communities has a business plan that sounds so splendid you want to slap your forehead and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Founders of the Charlotte-based company realized several years ago that America’s colleges and universities faced a shortage of dormitory space. Many on-campus dorms had grown outdated, and such facilities are increasingly expensive to build. Plus, today’s prospective college students, raised on the Internet, cable TV, and electronic devices, are turned off by the cramped and spartan dorm rooms of yesteryear. They want amenities, and they want them now.

Ted Rollins, founder and CEO of Campus Crest, had an idea: His company would replace the blah, publicly built dorms of yesterday with the privately built, “fully loaded” student housing of tomorrow. Wall Street loved the idea so much that Campus Crest completed a $380-million IPO in late 2010, and it now has almost 30 properties around the country, including one that is planned for Auburn University here in Alabama.

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