Too good to leave: Ned Hanigan, left, and Andrew Deegan on the balcony of their new student accommodation at the University of NSW in Kensington. Photo: Fiona Morris
In Sydney's east, there is a hidden town that boasts tapas and wine bars, late-night cafes, a supermarket, medical services, free Wi-Fi for all residents and - just like any town - a post office.
Its population also dwarfs many country towns.
Students want '21 meals a week ... [and] and ensuite'.
The town is student accommodation at the University of NSW.
In four years, the university has doubled the number of beds in its student accommodation. It will now house 4600 students, including more than 900 new beds opening this year.
Tens of thousands of first-year students will leave home and move in to university accommodation this week in time for the annual orientation week and the new academic year.
The University of Sydney is also expanding its student accommodation, and will refurbish the abandoned Queen Mary Building near the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown to provide affordable housing for about 800 students.
The university bought the vacant building from the state government last year for $27 million.
Research shows students who live on campus achieve better marks than those who live at home or in a share house.
University Colleges Australia, a body which promotes college living, measured the marks of students living on campus at leading institutions, including the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University and the University of Queensland.
It found that students living in colleges consistently achieved ''well above university pass rates'', as they had more support from peers and tutors and felt more engaged in the university.
Student accommodation is big business for universities and private operators. Figures from UNSW show that a student who lives on campus pays about $375 a week, compared with about $250 in a shared house or $430 in a one-bedroom unit.
It is not only international students who embrace living on campus.
Ned Hanigan has left the NSW central west town of Coonamble for UNSW's Goldstein College while Andrew Deegan has moved across the city from Roseville. Both boys are on partial scholarships from the Randwick Rugby Club.
Mr Hanigan, 18, will study science while Mr Deegan, 18, is doing a commerce degree. They are both used to living away from home as high-school boarders and wanted to live on campus for the convenience.
''It'll cut the commute down. I didn't want to have to come from Chatswood over the bridge to Randwick,'' Mr Deegan said.
UNSW vice-president of student services Neil Morris said student expectations had changed and they increasingly wanted somewhere ''slick, 21 meals a week, nice and modern with an ensuite in a single room''.
''Students and parents told us that they could find a party on campus, they didn't need it in their room,'' he said.