Go Residential and They Will Come: CCP’s Plan to Hook Foreign Students

The Community College of Philadelphia will build twin residential towers to appeal to newcomers.
Community College of Philadelphia's Mint Building. (Photo by CCPedu via Wikimedia Commons)

Community College of Philadelphia’s Mint Building. (Photo by CCPedu via Wikimedia Commons)

The area at 15th and Hamilton streets may become “home sweet home” to the hundreds of international students the Community College of Philadelphia hopes to enroll in the near future.

Come 2018, the 1.7-acre space, now a garage and industrial building, will boast an 11-story double tower residential complex, just a block away from the college’s main campus on Spring Garden Street.

The $130 million plan, to be executed by real estate powerhouse Radnor Property Group beginning in 2017, is the college’s response to its sinking enrollment, the Inquirer reports

The 2014-’15 school year saw a 15 percent drop in enrollment from 38,100 students in 2009-’10 when enrollment was at its highest in recent years.

And international students, looking to settle in comfortably abroad, are at the crux of the arrangement.

“You can’t realistically recruit international students without housing,” college president Donald Generals told the Inquirer, adding, “I think we are grossly underserving that market, and I think it’s a growing market.”

The school has in the past identified a commitment to international students, claiming that they, “especially enrich” the learning environment with a “current global perspective.” But its mission also underscores its students’ commuter status and, resultantly, its goal to serve Philadelphia residents.

But the towers, which will be available for all enrolled students, may shift this focus for the two-year associate degree-granting institution.

In addition to the Radnor agreement, the school has also contracted with D.C.-based higher education startup Quad Learning Inc. The partnership, over the next few years, will try to bolster the institution’s international recruitment and eventually help such students transfer to four-year institutions upon completion of coursework at the community college.

The college last made major changes to its campus beginning in 2008 when it expanded its academic and administrative building the Inquirer reports. That expansion cost the school just under half of what Radnor estimates for this upcoming project.

Follow @FabiolaCineas on Twitter.