the class of 2020 - radar - interviews
September 1st, 2020

Authors: The Class of 2020 & BONARD

Start of the academic year 2020/21 in nine key European study destinations

  • Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and The UK will all start the new academic year in fall, but uncertainty remains
  • Health and safety regulations add complexity due to continuous changes
  • The shift from optimistic optional online to conservative optional on-campus prevails

“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Never has Forrest Gump’s quote been more applicable. In mid-March, when COVID-19 challenged every aspect of ‘normal’, the European higher education and student housing industries entered an unpredictable time with regards to knowing how best to secure positive learning and living experiences. Given the nearly daily changes accompanying the situation, many higher education institutions and student housing operators chose to follow an active co-learning path, flexible scenario-planning and making bold decisions when necessary. During the summer, together with our legacy partner BONARD, we launched a joint research project with the aim to provide as accurate and up-to-date information as possible to assist industry leaders in making further strategic decisions to create more sustainable knowledge ecosystems for global talent amidst the pandemic. As a first phase, the coalition releases a snapshot of the current situation in nine key European study destinations (Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the UK), assessing multiple variables that can impact student mobility, with the information gathered from trusted sources as of 23rd of August.

For optimal viewing of the below snapshots use a laptop or PC.

The above regional snapshots from August 23rd present more positive prospects for student mobility than what the industry anticipated immediately after the outbreak. However, it is evident that uncertainty remains and the (potentially) changing situation is creating complexity more than clarity. Global talents will speak for themselves once the academic year is fully open at different times throughout the fall. The Class of 2020 and BONARD will continue to investigate the situation moving to the next phase of our research collaboration. The recent poll conducted by The Class of 2020 to determine which topics are most urgent, important and relevant concluded with 100 voters, showcasing rather evenly distributed responses for all four topics, including the overview of universities’ decisions (14%), change in student mobility behaviour (30%), short to mid-term impact on student housing industry (30%) and longer-term forecasts for higher education and student housing industry landscape (26%). The poll result suggests that all four areas are closely intertwined, however, slightly higher interest lies in what actually happened to student mobility as most universities announced their decisions, and on what impact it will have on student housing industry’s short to mid-term strategy, likely due to continuous change COVID-19 brings to the industry landscape. Respecting the needs and wants of our community, the coalition will touch upon all four topics during the next phase and will deliver extensive and timely findings focusing on student mobility and its impact on the student housing industry, with a comparative analysis between before COVID-19 (2019) and after the outbreak (2020). The Class of 2020 and BONARD look forward to sharing our collaborative findings during The Class Conference in November.

To receive a more in-depth analysis of the Italian and French markets make sure to join The Class Virtual Summits planned on September 10th (Italy) and October 20th (France).