Why student accommodation ain’t what it used to be

“Where once a student dormitory merely required a bed, adequate kitchen facilities and (in recent years) a reliable WiFi connection, student housing today is being refashioned around concepts of ‘community’ which blend living, leisure, socializing and studying functions – The Class of 2020

When you hear the words ‘student accommodation’ all manner of sins are conjured in to the mind. Bathrooms covered in a veneer of black mould, wire frame beds that would be more suited to Strangeways and kitchens which would have been considered dated several decades ago. A quiet revolution has brewed that has thrown these old stereotypes firmly out of the window.

Much has been written in the press in recent years of the transformative wave washing across the student accommodation sector. With innovation from the private sector at home and on the continent turning up the heat on traditional student accommodation, operators have began to augment student living with secondary and tertiary offerings of everything from elaborate social spaces to workspaces, gyms and even cinemas.

The University of Sheffield has been at the forefront of reinventing student living; voted as the #1 University accommodation for three years in a row from 2013-16, Sheffield’s Residence Life programme has blended student living with welfare support, sporting activities, social events and skills development.

As the student accommodation market has grown to provide a greater quality of accommodation, the next step for the sector has been to move away from a one size fits all model. In the past, students would collect their keys in September and hand them back at some point over the summer, often paying for months at a time when there was little likelihood they would even be in the city. Whether it be Erasmus students visiting for a semester from Europe or international students arriving for foundation courses in English before starting a formal degree, finding flexible short term accommodation can often be tricky. At Jonas, we offer stays between one night and six months to cater precisely to these students and to members of the public who may be visiting Sheffield for short term work commitments whether in traditional industries or for large events in the city such as DocFest or Tramlines.

Ian Jones, Head of Accommodation Services at the University of Sheffield said of Jonas:

As the needs of the University and our students change, the traditional accommodation model simply doesn’t work for everybody.  Jonas will offer the flexibility and quality that our visitors need, whether they are here studying, working or simply passing through Sheffield.  This is a tried and tested approach to short-term accommodation that has been proven to meet a need and work successfully in Europe and is overdue for introduction to the UK.

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