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CEO Spotlight: Campus Crest Addressing Rising Tuition

11/25/2013 | By Allen Kenney

Ted Rollins, chairman and CEO of Campus Crest (NYSE: CCG), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview at REITWorld 2013: NAREIT’s Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

Campus Crest is currently expanding its operations to the Canadian market. Rollins discussed the motivation behind the move.

“We followed student trends in Canada for a while,” Rollins said. “When we looked at the Montreal market as our first entry point into Canada, it was very compelling, given the number of students living within a very close radius. It was an unserved market. We saw a trends towards a purpose-built product in that market and a need for it and a large amount of international students as well.”

The Canadian assets will be part of Campus Crest’s new evo brand.

“That started with us in Philadelphia,” said Rollins, referring to a high-rise apartment facility at the University of Pennsylvania. “We wanted to have a new, hip, urban way of combining graduate and undergraduate living in an urban setting, but not sacrificing the urban experience and, in fact, kicking it up a notch - evo came out of that.”

Rollins offered his thoughts on his priorities for Campus Crest in 2014.

“As far as it being busy and prioritizing, I think our priority is and always will be the customer experience and our employees’ experience,” he said. “As we’ve continued to invest in our employees and our customer experience, that really sets the stage for success in our endeavors.”

Rollins was asked about the impact of the tepid economy and the potential effects of tuition increases.

“We’ve invested two-thirds of our dollars in what we call ‘primary non-flagship’” schools, he said. “The value proposition in tuition at those primary non-flagship [schools] far and away exceeds that of a private school. Our average tuition across the U.S. in our properties and our schools that we serve is about $10,000 a year. Mom and dad are more conscious consumers of that undergraduate education now."