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The Benefits of Nonprofit Ownership of Student Housing – with Will Givhan

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The Benefits of Nonprofit Ownership of Student Housing – with Will Givhan

Even among student housing professionals, few are familiar with the idea of nonprofit ownership. What is it? How does it work? And why would a university choose to work with a nonprofit to develop student housing facilities?


Will Givhan is the President and CEO of the Collegiate Housing Foundation, the country’s premier nonprofit provider of student housing. Since its inception in 1996, the 501(c)(3) has financed over $2.1B in student housing facilities, completing 55 projects at 40 schools in 24 states for a total of 31,940 beds. Will has been involved with Collegiate Housing since 1998, serving as outside legal counsel during his tenure at the law firm of Hand Arendall. He became the foundation’s in-house legal counsel and COO in 2011 and took the helm in May of this year.

Today, Will joins me to share the unique origin of the Collegiate Housing Foundation and his path from outside legal counsel to President and CEO. He explains the foundation’s role in financing, building, owning and operating student housing facilities and the diverse reasons why colleges and universities might choose nonprofit ownership. Listen in for Will’s insight around the satisfaction of providing students with quality housing that promotes both social interaction AND academic success!

Topics Covered

  • The unique origin of the Collegiate Housing Foundation
  • Will’s path to his current role as President and CEO
  • The foundation’s role in financing and building facilities
  • The advantage of the foundation’s tax-exempt status
  • How a college benefits from working with a nonprofit
  • How rating agencies account for nonprofit ownership
  • What will has learned about the way universities work
  • Will’s insight on student housing as a learning facility
  • Collegiate Housing Foundation’s continued rapid growth


Leigh Anne is the Director of Creative and Brand Marketing at COCM. In her role, she supports the development and implementation of the annual corporate marketing plan. She is responsible for overall brand strategy, content marketing, social media, video production, COCM’s website, marketing materials design and production, as well as serving as our liaison for COCM's sponsorships.