COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the higher education sector in a number of different ways:  A-Level students; having had their exam dates changed several times, haven’t been able to visit their prospective future places of study; new 1st year fresher students haven’t been able to immerse themselves into on-campus university life; and final year students are struggling to stay focused in ever changing circumstances as they try to obtain their best final grades to graduate, albeit without the promise of a graduation ceremony.

Regardless of year of study, the dilemma of where to live during this crisis has severely impacted student mental health and well-being.  Some students living away from home have experienced isolation being away from friends and family.  They’ve also had to adapt to new and unfamiliar online teaching practices, and for many, more importantly, limited who they socialise with on a day-to-day basis.

Many universities and purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) providers have taken steps to help students during their tenancies in these exceptional circumstances. And so as the academic year has progressed, there has been a notable improvement in student well-being – likely due to these initiatives, the slow easing of social restrictions, and also due to students, like many of us, becoming accustomed to their new normal.

After lockdown 2 (partway through the 1st term) and again after lockdown 3 (immediately after the festive break), most students experienced improved mental health, began to get more social interaction and in turn felt less lonely. Students who have returned home are now unlikely to return to their accommodation for the remaining few months of the academic year, despite spirits improving. 

This is one of many metrics that tells a story about the impact of the pandemic.  This data perspective highlights the true impact that COVID-19 continues to have on student well-being, higher education & the PBSA sector.  The challenge universities now face is to ensure that both UK and international students return next year.  PBSA providers specifically will need to consider how to profitably maximise occupancy in their properties, in what will be a competitive and never before seen marketplace.   

As overall strategies are reset with this is mind, so too may organsations’ approach to improving business value. We can help you re-align your data strategy to meet the new insight needs of your business. Contact us here.






Dave Sheppard

Dave Sheppard

Data and insight Lead

Dave is a seasoned practitioner in building innovative BI strategies for data-driven, value-adding business insight. He is a veteran in architecting, planning & managing the delivery of BI, data & analytical solutions, to client requirements, either on-premise or via cloud technologies. 

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