How Dining Halls Affect the Housing Experience

Have you ever wondered how students’ perceptions of dining halls reflect on their overall on-campus housing experience?

In recent years, colleges and universities have put increased attention, effort, and resources towards improving the quality of both on-campus dining halls and the breadth of food options available for students.

For college students, tales of frustration with on-campus dining facilities, services, and food quality are common. But, how reflective are these stories of data on broader student perceptions and experiences with dining services? This research note examines satisfaction with on-campus dining services and how it relates to the broader student housing experience. Throughout the note, we will examine how dining hall satisfaction reflects on factors of the housing experience like personal interactions, diverse interactions, sense of community, facility upkeep, overall satisfaction and overall learning.

Key Questions:

  1. How satisfied are students with dining services?
  2. How does satisfaction with dining services relate to other aspects of the on-campus housing experience?

Key Points:

  • On-campus residents who reported high satisfaction with dining services were more likely to report high levels of learning related to on-campus interactions.
  • On-campus residents who reported high satisfaction with dining services were more likely to report high satisfaction with other aspects of their experience, including facilities.

About the Data

The data used in this research note are from the 2016-2017 ACUHO-I/Benchworks Resident Assessment. The survey was jointly designed by ACUHO-I and the survey development team at Skyfactor. This survey enables institutions to evaluate the experiences of on-campus residents, focusing on satisfaction with the housing experience, facilities, staff, dining and roommates; as well as learning related to community interactions, programs, diverse interactions, sustainability, and healthy habits. For this note, we analyzed data from 283,144 on-campus residents from 261 institutions.

About Skyfactor

Since 1994, Skyfactor (formerly EBI MAP-Works) has been dedicated to improving retention, student success, and the quality of the college student experience. Our products and services have empowered over 1,500 college and universities to positively impact student development, learning, retention and satisfaction through the Mapworks student success and retention system, and through Benchworks national benchmarking assessments.