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Postsecondary Education

NCES 2006-160
May 2006

6.4.2 Implications for the FICM

This manual was last revised at a time when these types of projects were less common. Although the manual addresses ownership issues through the use of a “building ownership status” code, this feature does not deal with facilities that are owned, operated, and maintained by an outside entity and not leased to the college or university, even though the project may play a significant role in serving the institution’s mission. Under most privatized arrangements, rental agreements are made directly between the student and the foundation or nonprofit corporation, often through its third-party manager.

The question then is whether to include a separate ownership status code that recognizes privatized projects (housing or otherwise) in the institution’s inventory. How institutions view the benefit of recognizing privatized housing in their facilities inventory may depend on their role and responsibility with respect to these types of projects. An institution that assumes a minimal role where it may, for example, only refer students to the housing project but take no part in operation or management, nor create a “residential life” program that offers specific services to students, may opt not to include such facilities in its inventory. On the other hand, an institution that assumes a more significant role, by operating and maintaining facilities under contractual agreement and being more directly involved in the relationship between the student and the housing provider, may choose to include these facilities in its inventory.

At the system, state, or national level, the facilities inventory has greater value as a source for making comparisons among institutions. For this reason, there may be greater interest in including data on privatized facilities since they can provide a better measure of total available space for institutional programs based on mission. For example, an institution may have a mission as a residential campus but have its entire housing stock owned, operated, and managed privately. If a system or state wishes to make comparisons of available residential space among its institutions, many of which may own and manage such space directly, the inclusion of privately owned housing, particularly housing situated on campus property, makes sense.