Feature Article - June 2010
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A Look at Trends in Colleges & Universities

At the same time, though, many are expecting the number of people using their facilities to grow in this time period. Some 57.2 percent are expecting growth in 2010, and 54.2 percent are expecting it in 2011. Few are expecting to see decreases in those years. (See Figure 46.)

While few respondents across the board are anticipating any rise in their operating budgets in 2010, colleges and universities are an exception, though the increase they are projecting is very slight—just 0.5 percent from an average operating budget in 2009 of $1,827,000 to an average in 2010 of $1,836,000.

Their annual operating cost is lower than the across-the-board average for 2009 by 6 percent, but with the increases these respondents are projecting over the next two years, by 2011, their projected average operating expense will be 2.6 percent higher than the across-the-board average.

Respondents from colleges and universities were more likely than many other respondents to report that they had taken no action to reduce costs at their facilities. That said, a solid majority—86.9 percent—said they had taken action.

More than half (54.9 percent) of college/university respondents said they had tried to improve their energy efficiency. More than one-third (36.6 percent) said they had reduced staff. Other measures taken included increasing fees (31.7 percent), putting construction on hold (30.8 percent); cutting hours of operation (29.3 percent); and cutting programs or services (27.1 percent). They were much less likely than other respondents to shorten their season (just 7 percent) or close facilities (8.8 percent).

Like most respondents, the majority of colleges and universities were aiming to hold their staffing levels steady in 2010. Just over three-quarters (75.2 percent) said they were maintaining their current staff levels this year, while 9.1 percent were planning cuts. Nearly 16 percent were planning to add staff.

College/university respondents reported that they currently employ an average of 112.3 workers, and those who are planning to add staff were planning, on average, 16.1 additional employees. These were dominated by part-time workers (12, on average), likely student employees in these types of facilities.