In student housing, luxuries overshadow studying

Monday, June 17, 2013

Brenden Heiland had breathed the vanilla lavender-scented clubhouse air. He had seen the beach volleyball court, toured the game room equipped with billiards, Ping-Pong and air hockey tables, and learned with delight of the Friday pool parties with a D.J., free food and snow cones, spiked with rum for those of age.

Now, as he and the three friends he was apartment hunting with stood peering at the pool, Mr. Heiland, 19, pondered what life might be like if he chose to live in this off-campus complex, the Grove, when his sophomore year at the University of Missouri begins this fall.

“It’s like a vacation, almost,” he said. “I’m not going to go to class — that’s how I look at it.”

As private housing developers try harder than ever to outdo the amenities that their competitors offer in college towns, concern is growing about the academic and social consequences of upscale off-campus student housing.

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