Dorm Mattresses

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US Dorm Mattresses: Market Size

In 2017, there were about 5.38 million beds in the on-campus housing of colleges and universities in the U.S.


  • The U.S. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that in 2018, there were 4,298 degree-granting post-secondary institutions in the country.
  • The total number of enrolled students in U.S. colleges in 2017 was 18.4 million, 16.8 million were undergraduates.
  • Furthermore, the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics opines that in 2016, 32% of all full-time undergraduate students in the U.S. lived on-campus.
  • If the percentage of on-campus students remains the same, it means that about 5.38 million (i.e 16.8 million*32%) full-time undergraduate students lived on-campus in the U.S.
  • An estimated 45.5 thousand student beds were delivered in the U.S. in 2018.


While pre-compiled data on the market size or the number of beds in the on-campus housing of colleges and universities in the U.S. is largely unavailable on government databases, credible institutional organization reports, market reports, and expert publications, your research team was able to triangulate an estimate of the total number of beds in the on-campus housing of colleges and universities in the country. To arrive at a realistic estimate, we have assumed that every on-campus student would have a single mattress to themselves. We also assumed that the percentage of students on-campus remains unchanged from 2016 to 2017. Furthermore, this estimate was focused on only full-time undergraduates in the U.S.
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US Dorm Mattresses: Buying Process

College and university housing directors and administrators make the decisions regarding the furnishings and fixtures of residence halls. These decisions are informed by information they receive from industry leaders, concerns with compliance, desires to be appeasing to different students with different needs while retaining and attracting new students, and providing uniformity at the best prices given limited budgets among others. Insights into the mattress and furniture buying process are provided below.


1. Campus housing directors and administrators primarily are the decision-makers.

  • Campus housing directors and administrators revealed major concerns they focus on are maintaining an adequate number of beds, regular maintenance such as fixing leaks, mechanical system upgrades like HVAC and lighting, functional furnishings, and safety additions.
  • Seventy-five percent of administrators reported undertaking or planning on replacing furniture and fixture replacement.

2. Decisions regarding design and furnishings are important to attract and retain students.

  • College and university housing administrators have traditionally tried to keep up with current trends regarding the design and furnishing of residence halls.
  • Modern dormitories are expected to provide more than just beds. They are also expected to provide learning spaces, social and lounge spaces, recreational facilities, dining and cooking spaces, among other amenities. Modern residence halls serve as valuable marketing tools in attracting and retaining students which lends to the further importance of design and furnishings for the university as a whole.
  • Customer testimonials from schools and students for University Sleep put that they set the gold standard for dormitory mattresses. They service hundreds of colleges and universities, and they have glowing testimonials from schools and students regarding the quality of the mattresses especially when replacing old mattresses.
  • University Sleep is also noted for its ability to provide large new and replacement orders quickly, efficiently, and to the satisfaction of not only the purchase makers but the students.

3. Some product choices are for value and affordability while others are based on different needs.

  • Some design and furnishing decisions differ for different groups. First-year student housing is typically more dormitory style than suite style in order to promote necessary community building. They also tend to have a higher square footage per bed.
  • Administrators cite value and affordability when making decisions regarding student spaces.
  • Colleges that need to capitalize on space may offer students options to order bedlofts from One example is Marquette University whose housing policy states that all rooms have modular furniture that makes the need for lofts unnecessary except for O’Donnell Hall, in which students have the option to order a bedloft. Other schools such as Ohio University offer the option for bedlofts in rooms where more than two people reside to create more space.
  • American Bedding Manufacturers has more than 20 years experience serving colleges and universities and they market their quality mattresses and covers to be durable for college shenanigans. They are long-lasting, "inexpensive, waterproof, and easy to clean". These features make their products attractive to dormitory decision-makers on a budget and that are concerned about the longevity of the mattresses they choose.

4. Mattress features for on-campus beds are standard across the board at each university.

  • Ohio University gives an example of how colleges and universities provide uniform accommodations and furnishing restrictions across the board. General rooms have a bed, a desk and chair, and dressers. Most beds have 80-inch long twin mattresses, some are bunked, and triples are given or allowed bedlofts to optimize floor space. The extra-long beds were chosen to make every student comfortable.
  • Ohio University has had a linen program for 20 years that provides extra-long sheets, blankets and comforters for purchase.

5. Some colleges and universities have partners or a bidding process that determines their purchases.

  • The best channels to reach on-campus decision makers depend on whether the school partners with others that provide furnishings such as Bedloft, or if there is a bidding process and proposals must be submitted. offers convenient products and services for students to create more space in their rooms for many universities in numerous states.
  • Successful companies that have found success partnering with colleges and universities, such as American Bedding, provide useful information for key decision makers through blogs that highlight useful topics such as features to look for in college bedding and covers, liability of using non-compliant mattresses, among others. They also offer downloadable catalogs and online quotes to reach potential school decision-makers.
  • According to FAQs from known providers of mattresses to universities such as University Sleep, housing administrators and committees look for information regarding sample mattresses for compliance examinations, warranties, performance guarantees, reduction of shipping costs, their full installation and removal services, delivery to multiple sites, recycling programs, and a proven record of references with other universities. These are company features that influence the key decision-makers in the mattress buying process.
  • University Sleep has been providing mattresses to universities and colleges since 1905 and supply 100s of colleges, and their testimonials include rave reviews from schools such as Cornell University, Bowling Green State University, Saint Joseph’s College among others and students from schools as well.

6. Students expect to have lavish and/or personalized amenities and furnishings.

  • Student reviews of University Sleep cite appreciation of administrators' mattress decisions and give reasons such as previously sleeping on hard mattresses that affected their sleep, aid with allergies due to an anti-microbial and anti-fungal surface, and breathable surfaces that stay cool and dry during summer months.
  • Benefits of using companies like University Sleep Modern Dormitory Mattresses are anti-allergen, dust-mite resistant, bed bugs, stains, leaks, and odors, Certified safe, non-off gassing, free of vinyls and PVCs and others. These reasons are given by University Sleep to be why they have been the pioneer in "residence hall mattress technology, durability, and safety since 1905".


We looked at administrative surveys to identify aspects decision-makers look for when purchasing mattresses and furniture. In addition, we looked at reviews from universities and their students in regard to mattress options, preferences, and likes. Finally, we looked at the marketing techniques and testimonials of proven mattress providers to universities such as University Sleep and Bed Loft. The information was analyzed and compiled to construct the insights that lead decision-makers into making their final purchase decisions.
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US Dorm Mattresses: Management

A resident adviser works with a resident director in the management of facilities including furniture and mattresses in existing dorms in the US.


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US Dorm Mattresses: Sales Channels

The purchase channels for on-campus mattresses include online platforms, emails, university directories, and registering with the Central Contractor Registry and the Federal Register.


Bidding Channels

  • Solicitation opportunities are posted online, in which the bidder can view the opportunities that are currently open.
  • Completing the subscription webform online can help the contractors in obtaining email notifications, such as bid opportunities.
  • For questions, the university provides access to the purchasing office staff or the department directory.
  • Companies must be included in the United States Central Contractor Registry to register for working and bidding via a federal contract.
  • Contractors must connect with their procurement and contract staff, as well as agencies, and create a relationship to be placed on email and mailing lists concerning bid openings.
  • Bidding opportunities are listed in the traditional source, which is the Federal Register, and the contractors must search for them.

Mattress Purchase Process in George Mason University

  • The university will solicit bids from qualified sources headed by the procurement officers.
  • They set vendor requirements such as requiring at least three years worth of experience delivering and installing mattresses, self-registered in eVA, and capable of completing the order within about 30 days or fewer after receiving a purchase order.
  • They also set general specifications for mattresses such as availability in different sizes and meeting certain standards (vinyl and nylon mattress specifications).
  • Mattress sets and mattresses must satisfy the flammability standards.
  • Bidders must agree to offer rates for different mattress categories. The university provides "an award on the grand total sum basis to the lowest responsive and responsible bidders meeting the requirements of the solicitation."
  • The bidder must respond to this solicitation within 120 days. Otherwise, the bid could be removed as requested by the bidder.
  • It may be mandatory for bidders to offer full-size samples at no cost for each item for which they submitted a bid to the university.

Mattress Purchase Process in Arizona State University (ASU)

Research Strategy:

Our research began by searching for the buying process for colleges and universities of mattresses. We found two universities providing their buying processes, specifically for mattresses. Afterward, we visited their bidding websites to discover how they obtain bidding opportunities. We also searched for information on bidding lists in the government.
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US Dorm Mattresses: New vs. Existing Dorms

Some differences in the mattress buying process of on-campus housing for new dorms versus existing dorms include: 1) Public-private partnership, 2) Delivery and shifting process, 3) Discounts and special offers, 4) Luxury housing, 5) Space consideration, and 6) Unique needs of some students. Pointers determining how these shifts occur for buyers or sales channels are provided below.



  • For sales channels, higher-margin discounts and specials on mattresses are likely offered for new dorm construction when compared to purchases for ongoing dorm management.
  • Also, the buying process for mattresses for new dorm construction is packaged with foundation, bedding, and other mattress accessories like mattress topper, duvet, and bed risers. The buying process for ongoing dorm management, on the other hand, is likely tailored towards the replacement of mattresses only since bedding and additional accessories are assumed to be existing already.
  • The delivery and shipping process for new dorm construction and ongoing dorm management are also different. Unlike the former, the option of the seller picking up your old mattress while delivering a new one is available for the latter. This service delivery suggests that there can be trade-off discounts when negotiating a price.
  • For a new dorm construction, delivery and shipping service could include set-up by the seller's technical crew of all purchased products.
  • Collaboration with the university, off-campus student services, commuter student services, and so on could result in differences in the mattress buying process. For ongoing dorm management, Universities like the University of Iowa partners with Bedloft and have their 'On-Campus Marketing' online forum where residents can purchase mattresses, bed accessories, and other dorm life products. This buying process for ongoing dorm management is not expected to follow a similar approach for new dorm construction when it comes to collaboration.
  • Another difference in the mattress buying process of on-campus housing for new dorm construction versus ongoing dorm management is a public-private partnership (P3) that can exist between institutions and top mattress brands for the funding of new residence halls.
  • P3 delivery is "becoming more common, especially for some of these large-capacity projects where there is either state mandate to use P3 or where the institution has the demand but not the debt capacity to build a substantial project." For instance, there can be a quid pro quo arrangement with the institution, particularly in the areas of mattress provisions and other dorm supplies.
  • Consideration for space determines the difference in the mattress buying process of on-campus housing for new dorms versus existing dorms. Typically, a pair of XL mattresses should fit a dorm, but "'extra-long mattresses' measuring 36' by 80' by 7'" are being considered for new residence halls in universities like Villanova University.
  • New dorm construction on campuses of U.S. colleges and universities is considered luxury housing for wealthy students compared to aging existing dorms for their lower-income classmates. Invariably, consideration in the buying process for mattresses for these two types of residence will differ in terms of cost, comfort, accessories, and sizes, among other things.
  • Due to the many unique needs of students with one deficiency or the other, the thought behind the buying process for mattresses for new dorm construction is now different from that of many existing dorms. The reason is that the latter is still aligned to the era of the ideal residence hall where shared rooms are furnished with "couple of bunk beds and a small desk for each roommate." Many institutions in the US are now working with a growing demand for single-bedroom apartments.


We started our findings by taking notes of the differences between on-campus housing for new dorms versus existing dorms. We evaluated a recent survey carried on the housing administrators of colleges and universities in the US, and the 2019 Hechinger Report to understand the differences between new dorms and existing dorms.

Since it is established that universities are the significant buyers of mattresses for residents (whether for new or existing dorms), we examined five universities — NYU, UIOWA, Stanford, BU, and Villanova, to understand the buying process mattresses for their dorms.

After this, we checked guides on mattress picks for college students and then conducted an overview of the sales channel of an online supplier of campus mattresses.

Through concise research and careful analysis of our findings, we were able to identify some differences in the buying processes of on-campus housing for new dorms versus existing dorms.

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US Dorm Mattresses: Pricing

Med Mattress offers the cheapest on-campus mattresses at $49.50 and Mattress Firm prices start from $59; American Bedding Manufacturers offers mattresses at a price starting at $99.

Prices of on-campus Dorm Mattresses in the US

  • offers dorm mattresses for educational facilities; prices start from $49.50.
  • American Bedding Manufacturers offers dormitory mattresses, prices start from $99.
  • This is the main page of Gateway Mattress Co. a commercial supplier of mattresses for universities; its brochure providing the types of student mattresses available and contact details for orders between 5-500 mattresses.
  • The main page for the commercial sales division of Mattress Firm; they are the largest purchaser of mattresses in the world; here buyers can request a quote. Prices at the Mattress Firm start from $59.
  • Norix's main page lists mattresses that are available for bulk buy at educational facilities. Buyers can use this page to request a quote from Norix.
  • The main page of Made Rite Bedding provides a list of mattresses available for dormitories. Prices at Made Rite Bedding start at $124.95, but discounts are available depending on the size of the order.
  • Prices at 'US-Mattress' start from $119.
  • Foamite offers mattresses for campuses; prices start from $139 for a single mattress.

Research Strategy

There is a wide variety of sellers in the on-campus mattress bulk buy industry; however, several companies do not list their prices on their websites due to the highly individualized needs of their customers; no educational facility is the same. Many companies need to know what exactly the requirements are before they can quote a price, for example, whether mattress installation or removal is required. Also, many of the available prices can change depending on the size of the order; often bigger orders can be filled at a cheaper price than the price shown on their website.

From Part 04
  • "The mattress cover shall be a 210 denier waterproof, antibacterial, antifungal, PVC free, polyurethane-coated nylon with a durable water-repellant that causes fluid to bead up on the mattress rather than wet the fabric."
  • "The mattress construction shall be a four-corner box construction."
  • "The mattress shall meet 16 CFR Part 1633 flammability test."