MM header 1024x384 - Driven by Data, a New Take on March Madness Bracket Decisions

Cardinal Group Consulting took a new approach in filling out our March Madness bracket this season. With data provided by CollegeHouse, we created a statistical analysis blending enrollment trends, housing availability, occupancy, pre-leasing, and other data points to develop our own ranking of the strongest student housing markets in the country. Using these ranking, we’ve filled out our bracket and moved schools through the bracket based on their cumulative score in our strength rankings.

We weren’t surprised to see some big-name markets make it far in our bracket; schools like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois are known to be at the top of most ranking of the strongest student markets. However, you might be surprised to see some other names like California State – Fullerton, Boise St. and TCU actually ranked higher than schools like Michigan State and Arizona (Tucson).

Our Final Four consisted of CA State Fullerton, Michigan, Wisconsin and UCLA, with UCLA and Wisconsin meeting in the Finals before UCLA ultimately took home our championship as the strongest student housing market!

MMBracket 2022 1024x709 - Driven by Data, a New Take on March Madness Bracket Decisions

After digging into the data a little deeper, though, we noticed some important variables that are strongly favoring UCLA, that might not actually be indicative of the true strength of the market.

For example, UCLA has incredibly high average rents, at ~$2,110/bed/mo. This rent is significantly higher than most student rents, which is generating huge points for UCLA in our rankings, even though the market’s pre-leasing and enrollment growth stats aren’t as strong as other markets.

This is a great example of why it’s important to go beyond the raw data, and a great illustration of how Cardinal Group Consulting’s experience and critical thinking can add value beyond pure analysis. It’s so interesting when a deep dive into data yields unexpected results!

Let us know if you have any thoughts on our analysis process, or if you’re interested in hearing more about how Cardinal Group Consulting can help on your next research project.

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