Housing infrastructure for international students
The Government of the Russian Federation has set clear targets for regarding increase of the number of international students to Russian universities. Is the industry ready for this and what are the barriers to achieving the targets? In this article, we will look at the readiness of housing infrastructure.

According to research by the analytical agency ICEF Monitor (Germany), students planning to go to study abroad equate the factor of the availability of modern and cost-effective accommodation at the university with such factors as the quality of education at the university and the status of its diploma. Moreover, according to parents, the importance of the first factor often outweighs the rest because a diploma and a career are sometime later but a child's safety and comfortable living is today, tomorrow, and a few years ahead. From this point of view, the importance of the housing infrastructure (as well as all other household issues) cannot be overestimated.

What are the priorities that guide students when choosing a place and living conditions? Let us refer to a study conducted in October 2017 by the largest global service company Sodexo, that provides universities accommodation and consumer services for their students.

The survey results were fully in the spirit of time and reflected the lifestyle of students: 63% told that it was important to have a WiFi-connection at the hostel.
The rest of the services are significantly inferior in importance: 29% noted the importance of the safety factor and the availability of laundry, 27% — the presence of a bathroom in the room, 26% — the availability of gym facilities, and 14% — the availability of cleaning services.
A slightly smaller share of respondents indicated the need for a kitchen and common spaces for communication.

The target numbers related to international student recruitment are achievable only if Russian education accepts the competitive challenge of the global education market and takes a leading position in it. Understanding the needs of students, it is neces- sary to critically analyze the existing infrastructural capabilities of universities in terms of providing accommodation services.

The situation in this area has not been critical until now, as the Russian Federation has always had its target audience which is largely opted for training in Russian universities in the areas of training that have no analogues in the world (Russian philology and linguistics as well as all other subject areas adjacent to the Russian philology), or in such subject areas which "price-quality" ration successfully compete on the world market (in the first place — medicine). In these cases, foreign students largely neglect the non-educational factors — they are initially ready to go to Russia.

However, if we are talking about Russia's global leadership in education, we must take into account that we are entering a zone of dense competition. In recent years, the quality of education in Russian universities has been steadily growing, which is confirmed by various world rankings. Living environment — large Russian megalopolises — in some parameters surpass many of the world's agglomerations. It only remains to bring the living conditions of students in line with world standards, so that a future student who chooses options for studying in a particular country seriously considers Russia as an alternative to the already established global centers of leadership in international education.

Current situation
1. The market of student dormitories and hostels in Russia is characterized by the presence of two main categories of offers: 1) University accommodation facilities at very low rates;
2. Private hostels operating on the open market and charging a fairly high fee for accommodation.
only hostels owned by state universities are considered
for city hostels, we do not consider knowingly unsuitable housing, which is usually used by workers
In recent years, a new format for organizing student accommodation has become widespread: large student recruiting companies began to rent 3–4-room apartments and accommodate international students brought by them to Russia. This was facilitated by the recession in the real estate market and the presence of a large number of unsold apartments in new buildings. However, this format has significant drawbacks associated both with the difficulty of ensuring security due to the small number of common spaces, and with the formal difficulties of migration registration and registration at the place of actual residence of foreign students (homeowners are often not ready to deal with these formalities). And since July 2018, after the entry into force of some changes in the migration legislation, related to the extension of visas and registration at places of actual residence, there are virtually no alternatives to specialized housing stocks like student dormitories and hostels.

International experience
In order to get a better understanding of the international situation in the area of residence of students let us turn to a study conducted in 2018 conducted by the world's largest real estate agency Savills established in 1855 in the UK and operating over 600 offices worldwide.

According to this study, in the world market, as well as in Russia, there is a significant gap between supply and demand, and this has led to the fact that the segment of housing infrastructure for students has become one of the fastest growing on a global scale: investments in the construction of specialized housing for students (PBSA — purpose-built student accommodation) in 2017 amounted to $ 17.5 billion (8% of global investment in residential real estate), an increase of 90% since 2013.

The mature markets for student housing today are the United States (46% of the indicated investment were made in this country), the United Kingdom (34%) and Western Europe (18%) making up to 98% overall. The remaining 2%, including the most dynamically markets for international students (Canada, Australia, Japan), account for the rest of the world and in this situation we note the following factors indicating the huge potential for the growth of student housing markets in other countries:
1. The USA, UK, and Western Europe account for less than 50% of the total volume of international students in the world;
2. Satisfaction of demand for student housing in the largest European cities is catastrophically low: Rome (about 220,000 students) — 3%, Madrid (about 200,000 students) — 5.7%, Vienna (about 185,000 students) — 10.3%. And even in UK cities where private student hostel business is on the rise demand satisfaction is no more than 25%, while in US met- ropolitan areas this figure is 12% on average.

Separately, it should be emphasized that the student housing market is seen as reliable and growing. How else to explain that such conservative financial giants as the Investment Corporation of the Government of Singapore and the APG pension fund (Netherlands) acquired shares in companies that develop and operate student hostels in Australia and the UK! In order to develop opportunities for the accommodation of foreign students in Australia and Ireland, government programs for the development of student housing have been approved.

In the absence of verifiable information on the number of accommodation spots suitable for students, we assume that in Moscow, as in the largest European metropolis, the trends described above are manifested in an even greater volume due to the fact that the student population for 2016 in Moscow, according to the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation (https://budget.edu.ru/) was about 736,000 people (almost 2 times more than in Lon- don!), and non-resident students according to researchers from Moscow State University and Higher School of Economics O. Chudinovskikh and M. Denisenko make up approximately 40% (over 300,000 people) of students in Moscow. It can be concluded that hundreds of thousands of students in Moscow alone need quality housing at optimal rates.

Without the active development of housing infrastructure for students as a separate type of business, it will be difficult to achieve all the goals that the educational community faces in terms of international student reruitment. Private business should see the economic prospects for the development of such a business because all tenants are a potential target audience for various types of other goods and services. When planning the development of this market sec- tor it is necessary to take into account at least the following circumstances:
1. Give preference to the development of double and triple accommodation options;
2. Implement federal, regional, and municipal programs for the development of specialized student housing (PBSA) providing subsidies both during the construction phase and the operation phase;
3. Approve "soft" standards at the level of the professional community for the arrangement of student accommodation.

In this regard, it is advisable to consider the following proposals:
1. The concept of student housing can become a non-standard and effective move to revive the frozen commercial housing market. Hundreds of newly built and renovated office and business centers with already prepared communications and the existing office layout are optimal for the development of modern and very high-quality facilities for students;
2. Profiling student housing objects by the areas of training of students, which will provide an opportunity to make a unique concentration of like-minded people and will attract students to live in terms of building connections for a future career, and will allow owners to conduct many activities taking into account the specifics of students' lifestyle;
3. Develop and promote residence of international students in families (especially for students of language courses). In addition to the obvious advantages associated with the faster integration of foreigners into Russian society, such project can turn into a social one if it is focused on the involvement of retirement and pre-retirement age citizens of the Russian Federation!
Dmitri Nersesyan, Director, Education Export Center, Russia. Dmitri has completed his degrees from top Russian universities in International Management and Law. Dmitri has been working in international education since 2002. He has worked in a variety of minor and senior positions in different Russian universities. He has always been focused on international business development issues of universities, international marketing of higher education, and positioning of higher education institutions on global education market.