No matter the economic climate, a college education remains the mainstream path for many Americans looking to climb up the social ladder and achieve the American dream. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, some 20.5 million students are expected to attend American colleges and universities this fall, and the cohort is undeniably a huge driver for the economy, especially on the local level.
A Brookings study finds that an over a lifetime, the average bachelor’s degree holder contributes $278,000 more to local economies than the average high school graduate through direct spending. Meanwhile, a number of employers are drawn to certain locations to take advantage of talents from local colleges, (as explained in this New York Times story that Uber tested in Pittsburgh in light of Carnegie Mellon University). Similarly, housing markets in many college towns largely benefit from the presence of big higher-education institutions as well. Increasing demand and ever-rising home prices have attracted many builders and developers to break ground in college towns. Many parents also find it alluring to buy homesfor their students to live in, and then sell at a profit after graduation. A Coldwell Banker survey found that more than one-third of agents across the country are seeing more buyers looking to purchase properties for their children than in previous years. In short, the building in a college town can be a lucrative business builders can’t afford to neglect.