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How colleges can start up a senior living community successfully

How colleges can start up a senior living community successfully

Higher Ed Dive

Lilah Burke
April 10, 2023
Ideas about who attends college and lives on campus are expanding beyond 18- to 22-year-old students. Some campuses are looking well past that age range and thinking about how they might work with a different population: senior citizens.
Building senior living communities on college campuses, proponents say, gives retirees a lively and academic atmosphere while providing students with new mentors and internship opportunities. The college, of course, gets a little help with its bottom line.
“It’s one of these models that has, by design, mutual benefits on both sides,” said Lindsey Beagley, director of lifelong university engagement at Mirabella, the senior living community at Arizona State University. Mirabella, she said, “is not an afterthought to the core business of the university, but it’s actually integral to the strategy of the university to evolve to meet education needs.”
The model of putting retirement communities on college campuses picked up steam in the mid-2000s, said Andrew Carle, lead instructor for the senior living administration program at Georgetown University. He’s also worked as a consultant for many institutions that have sought to build these partnerships, which he calls university-based retirement communities.
Here is the advice Carle suggested for colleges considering these types of moves.
Understanding the model
Carle has defined five metrics that make a university-based retirement community, and he believes at least three dozen communities in the U.S. meet his definition.
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