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"The timing of our IPO in 2004 allowed us to have the transparency of being a public company, excellent corporate governance and also the access to capital that a REIT has so that we could be the type of company the university could rely upon as a long-term partner,"explains Bill Bayless, ACC's president and CEO.
Beginning in 2006, ACC and ASU pioneered developer-equity financing through the American Campus Equity (ACE)® program.
"We try to infuse that into all of our projects." This included determining the fate of an iconic campus structure in need of major renovations.
Crow envisioned ASU as the model for what he calls "the New American University," a public research university dedicated to "the simultaneous pursuit of excellence, broad access to quality education and meaningful societal impact." At the same time, like most public universities, ASU faced the ongoing challenges of overcoming its capital-intensive demands for infrastructure, housing and research facilities while also finding the necessary resources to devote to education and its students.
Revitalizing ASU's housing stock is consistent with Crow's idea of the New American University.
He has argued that a typical research-focused university can often be restrictive in its opportunities.
The first-year student retention rate has jumped from 76 percent to 84 percent since 2002.
The sixyear graduation rate for Arizona residents is up from 57 percent that same year to about 70 percent now.
"We believe that anybody that has the ability to benefit from an ASU education ought to have that opportunity, so it's about being accessible and affordable." Beyond the positive student reception, the success of ASU's application of the New American University concept is reflected in its growing reputation as a research institution and innovation hub. "We try to infuse that approach to problem-solving all the way through the institution in terms of how we teach our students, how we want them to think critically, how we want to manage the institution," Olsen explains. In the fall of 2002, it had 55,500 students enrolled and only 8,127 beds, housing only about 14 percent of students.