Spending so much time on student housing retention is even more interesting considering the large obstacles it faces. The lifecycle of any student resident is almost required to be short as they will graduate (hopefully) or move home for the summer. Also, students often initially stay at the dorms, which means a lot of renters are already upper classman, meaning closer to graduation. In addition, college renters often have roommates - if that roommate happens to be a year ahead, then he/she will graduate before the younger resident, forcing that resident to either find another roommate or move out. In other words, the difficulties in retaining a resident are staggering!
So although I could see the argument that you have to invest more since they are harder to renew, it just seems like throwing more money at a resident who is destined to leave in the first place.
One other note about resident retention in student housing vs traditional housing: It seemed like the chat participants were just flinging out idea after idea regarding student housing events and programs, which vastly outpaces ideas for traditional housing. I wonder if onsite staffs are more likely to implement programs in student housing because their demographic is so homogenous, and therefore, easier to figure out? Do property management companies often ignore resident retention for traditional developments because it is just simply too hard to plan a program for such a diverse group of people? I would love to hear any thoughts on this!