Bouygues is expected to deliver the 634 en-suite student bedrooms as part of its Uliving joint venture, which is acting as development partner.
Registrar Bryn Morris said: “We have invested £200m in developing new living and learning spaces on our campuses. The development of further student residences on our Colchester Campus is the next step in securing the future success of the University.”
It is hoped work will start on the site in spring 2016 to deliver two curved linear buildings rising to seven storeys.
The Uliving consortium of Bouygues Development and accommodation operator Derwent Living have already delivered a previous £22m scheme on the Meadows site two years ago.
With record numbers of students studying at Essex, the development – due to be completed for autumn 2017 – supports the college’s 50% growth plans and will enable priority students, including first years and overseas students, to be housed on campus.