Why graduate students?

Limited Options

  • Typically, universities provide housing for undergraduates but not for graduate students. Instead, universities and colleges throughout the country build dormitories meant to cater to undergraduate students. This leads many graduate students to turn to off campus housing options to meet their housing needs.


Professional and Independent

  • Graduate students are typically more mature and responsible as compared to undergraduate students. Most graduate students have progressed through social circumstances and extracurricular activities that encompass the completion of an undergraduate degree and have opted to continue their academic careers in hopes of furthering their professional careers. This results in a much more focused and independent lifestyle where meeting deadlines and succeeding academically take priority.



  • In the past 10 years, the amount of applications for graduate school programs has increased each year by an average of 5.7%.[i] Since the growth of higher education enrollment, enlisting in graduate programs has become an increasingly more common life step to take following the completion of an undergraduate degree. Total enrollment numbers in postgraduate programs peaked during the heart of the 2008 Financial Crisis[ii].


Promising Future

  • Enrollment in postgraduate programs shows signs of continued growth. In September of 2017, the Council of Graduate Schools released their annual study and found that in 2016, first-time graduate enrollment grew by 2%.[iii] In May of 2017, the National Center for Education Statistics projected post-baccalaureate enrollment in increase by 12% over the next 10 years[iv]. This is reflective of the challenging qualification requirements of a hyper competitive workforce.

We target appreciating markets where the cost of acquisition is low with a graduate student population who demand higher quality rentals.

Criteria include:


-Population of Graduate Students

-Proximity to Campus

-University Ranking

-Acceptance Rate (High Yield)

-Favorable Zoning

Our goal is to take properties and reposition them to their highest and best use by adding additional bedrooms, bathrooms and amenities in order to appeal to graduate students. 

We source value-add real estate investment opportunities that are located near highly ranked, private universities with large graduate student populations and limited on-campus housing. We provide turn-key fully furnished apartments rented to individual students, by the bedroom with all utilities included.

Brown University, Providence, RI

Brown University is located in Providence which fits well within the Avance investment model. The growth in international admissions provides demand from foreign students seeking premium student apartments. These statistics backed with previous Avance student housing venture experiences in the East Side of Providence (see Avance on North College Hill) result in a very favorable investment housing opportunity.

  • Selectivity

    • As a member of the Ivy League, Brown University has long been heralded as one the most premier and established universities throughout the globe. For the 2017 school year, Brown featured an acceptance rate of 9.3%. Students who set sights on pursuing their studies at Brown are academically elite and driven. With this exclusivity comes a price. The estimated tuition and living expenses for the 2017-2018 school year at Brown for an international student total $78,915. If admitted into Brown, it is clear that international students are willing to spend any amount necessary to cement their stay.


  • Limited Housing Options

    • Despite having 2,250 graduate students enrolled, Brown University only offers on-campus housing to roughly 300 graduate students through an application process. This process leaves close to 2,000 graduate students who must look to off-campus options for housing.


  • Graduate School Admission Trends

    • In the past five years, Brown University has steadily increased the amount of admitted graduate students. When comparing the final admission statistics of 2016 vs. 2017, Brown saw a 5% increase in received graduate applications matched with a 2% increase in graduate enrollment. Of the 1,250 graduate students enrolled, over 1/3rd identify as international students. That number is expected to rise as 35% of all graduate admissions for the 2017 school year were international students.

The Big Picture

Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

Since 2011, Brown has invested $162 million in new construction projects and over $310 million in large scale renovations. While Brown expects College Hill to remain the core of all undergraduate activities and faculty research facilities, the school acknowledges that available land is becoming a scarcity in College Hill. In response, the school has turned to the Jewelry District of Downtown Providence in order to continue its growth. The lightly shaded red portion of the map below represents the Jewelry District of Providence.

As discussed in its Building on Distinction press release, Brown University intends on eventually developing the Jewelry District into a “vibrant mixed-use environment with medical education, scientific research, administrative offices, and residential space for graduate and medical students.[i]”. This neighborhood is particularly close to both Avance properties 20 Sheldon Street and 16-20 Governor Street. Below is a map highlighting the properties that Brown currently controls in the Jewelry District.

The future plans Brown has for expansion have been quiet yet tactical when examining the university's purchases throughout 2016. They completed 5 real estate transactions; they acquired 118 Waterman Street (a 2-story commercial office building with Citizens Bank operating the ground floor), 63-65 Charlesfield Street (a four-story student apartment house that will be part of the planned Watson Institute expansion), and 37 George Street (a single-family residential). The university sold 37 Charlesfield Street (a single-family residential) and 193 Hope Street (a two-family).


Brown currently owns 226 buildings totaling nearly 6.8 million SF in College Hill and the Jewelry District and of these owned buildings, 40 are operated as residence halls. In the next ten years, the university plans on entertaining new construction opportunities for a New Performing Arts Center and New Residential halls, but has no planned construction as of January of 2017.  The university also plans to expand the Watson Institute at 111 Thayer Street by taking University-owned multi-family homes and converting them into a project that will add 31,000 SF of classrooms and offices.

The expansion and improvements Brown is making to its campus will continue to attract top graduate students from around the world, which in turn will continue to put pressure on the current housing market. This perfect storm of factors makes us confident that Providence is a market that will fully support our model for the long-haul.



















As Brown continues to invest in the future of Providence, it is clear that it is becoming a city where students are attending school and staying post-graduation. As a whole, the city's largest combined population is made up of the age groups from 18-29, within those statistics, a prime age for recently graduated undergrads and graduate students. We feel confident that as Brown continues to expand and invest in the city itself, the market will continue to appreciate and attract more prospective Avance tenants to our growing portfolio.

In general, Brandeis graduate students are underserved in their housing needs. Nearly half of the school’s total enrollment is not given the option of living in university-controlled housing. Brandeis students pay a premium for their education, which places the school directly in line with Avance’s business model. If students and families are comfortable and willing to pay nearly $70,000 for education, it is fair to assume that they are unlikely to balk at luxury housing opportunities. Additionally, Brandeis increasingly attracts and enrolls a high concentration of international students. As discussed previously, undergraduate and graduate school living expenses tend to be much higher for international students, thus explaining interest in developing upscale student apartments in the near area.

  • Selectivity

    • Brandeis University maintains a 33% acceptance rate. With tuition, fees, and room & board totaling close to $68,000, Brandeis comfortably fits among the upper echelon of the most expensive universities in the country.


  • No University Controlled Graduate Housing Options

    • Despite representing close to 40% of the school’s total enrollment, Brandeis does not provide housing for graduate students. Instead, graduate students are expected to live at various apartment complexes throughout the city of Waltham.


  • Encouraging Graduate Enrollment Trends

    • Below is an enrollment chart demonstrating the consistent growth of Brandeis’s graduate programs, particularly with international students[i]:  


Graduate Enrollment Trends:













Over the course of the past 4 years, while general enrollment has hovered around 2,100, each year has featured a larger presence of international students.

Brandeis is currently in the process of a $38 million renovation of Usen Castle adding 60 beds for a total of 164 beds for the new undergraduate residence hall. Usen is scheduled to reopen in August 2018. There are no current plans for additional graduate student housing.

                                                Information obtained from the US Census Bureau.

Beyond the expansion of Brandeis, developments are changing the landscape of the housing market in Waltham. This can be attributed to the number of students/young professional looking to stay in the area post-graduation. Waltham has the highest number of 20 something year olds out of any Western Suburb of Boston, making up 16.3% of the city's total population. Between the concentration of high ranking universities in the area such as Brandeis and Bentley and new developments being built, the number of 20 something year olds will continue to grow in Waltham.

Looking Forward

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