Tertiary students’ housing priorities: Finding home away from home

  • Nnenna Ike University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia
  • Claudia Baldwin University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia
  • Athena Lathouras University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia
Keywords: Tertiary student, accommodation, housing, international students, Australia, étudiants étranger inscrits dans l’enseignement supérieur, logements étudiants, Australie


Globally, 5 million students annually leave both high school and their homes for the first time in pursuit of a higher education, while some others may be transiting to a new country in search of an international education. If tertiary students are unable to access suitable accommodation, this could have several implications. First is the significant role of housing on one’s health, wellbeing, and quality of life as this can be an additional cause for stress and worry. Second, there is ample evidence that attests to the fact that students with access to settled housing have better educational outcomes than those with less settled housing. This paper examines tertiary students’ housing needs and preferences, towards providing them with suitable and stable accommodation during their study duration. A 26-item online questionnaire was administered to students enrolled at two regional universities in Australia. Participants were asked to choose their needs and preferences from eleven housing attributes, and rate them from ‘most important’ to ‘least important’ need. The results were analysed using SPSS. The results of the survey from both universities indicate that students’ most important need was for affordable accommodation (i.e. the lowest cost for rent) and accommodation offering recreational facilities rated the least important. This study fills a gap in understanding student priorities in housing in regional universities and offers insight to individuals and institutions involved in or intending to develop student accommodation on how to properly target and satisfy this sector. The research findings has wider application to regional or urban-based universities in Australia and globally.