Higher Ed Survey

Campus Cleanliness Emerges as Top Factor in College Selection

The results of a new survey from JLL have revealed that campus cleanliness and indoor air quality now rank among the top factors in college selection. JLL, a Fortune 200 commercial real estate and professional services firm, surveyed about 500 parents of tenth- through twelfth-grade students about their priorities while considering higher education destinations. The top three most important factors, according to the results, were quality of academics (75%), affordability (71%) and—in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic—campus cleanliness and indoor air quality (48%).

Additionally, the survey indicated that about 59% of parents had never considered campus air quality as a decision-making factor before the pandemic, while 60% said they consider a vaccine mandate important. About 21%, meanwhile, said they would consider a school’s sustainability initiatives.

“Proper indoor ventilation and air circulation occupied the spotlight across most industries in the height of the pandemic, with 59 percent of parents never even considering campus air quality prior to COVID-19,” said Ron Gregory, Executive Vice President North America, JLL Higher Education. “As people are more aware of their surroundings that impact their health and safety with greater reason, we can expect that students and staff on campuses will continue to demand transparency and the highest standards around cleanliness and air quality.”

Among the survey’s other findings, 42% of respondents said that their opinion of campus cleanliness and air quality had changed due to the pandemic. About 88% said that the physical condition of buildings was either very important or somewhat important, and 86% said that they consider a campus’s look and feel.

“From simple fixes like upgrading lightbulbs to harnessing new technologies across a campus, preventative maintenance is key for schools empowering vibrant campus experiences—before the physical condition of buildings becomes a turn-off to prospective students,” said Kevin Wayer, President, JLL Public Institutions. “Savings generated from preventative maintenance can go back into facilities upkeep, creating an overall better, cleaner and more modern experience for students.”

The survey was conducted in June 2021 through a partnership with Engine Insights.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].