Colleges & Universities

A Look at Trends in Colleges & Universities

Funding for higher education continues to lag below pre-recession levels according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. While many states have begun to restore funding to their higher education systems, they are doing so at a relatively slow rate, and 47 states are still spending less per student than they did before the recession. As a result, public colleges and universities have been raising tuition and making spending cuts. And, indeed, the Industry Report survey shows that colleges and universities see revenues largely holding steady instead of increasing, and these respondents were among the only ones who are less likely to be planning construction than they were last year.

The largest number of college and university respondents to the Industry Report survey came from the Midwest. More than three out of 10 (30.3 percent) college respondents reported that they were located in the Midwest. The next largest group—at 22 percent—were from the Northeast. They were followed by the South Atlantic region (17.5 percent), the South Central region (17.2 percent) and the West (13.1 percent).

College respondents were much more likely to be from urban areas than non-college respondents, and simultaneously were much less likely to report from suburban and rural communities. While 40.9 percent of college respondents said they were located in urban communities, just 21.2 percent of non-college respondents were in urban areas. And, while one-third (33 percent) of college respondents were in suburban areas, 43.7 percent of non-college respondents were located in the suburbs. Finally, some 26.1 percent of college respondents were located in rural communities, compared with 35.1 percent of non-college respondents.

A majority of college respondents—59.9 percent—indicated that they work for public organizations. Another 32 percent said they worked for private, nonprofit organizations, and 7.1 percent said they were with private, for-profit organizations.

On average, college respondents manage 4.6 facilities, slightly lower than the average for all facility types of 6.6. College respondents were more likely than non-college respondents to report that they manage between one and three facilities. Some 63.9 percent of college respondents said they manage one to three facilities, compared with just 59.5 percent of non-college respondents that manage one to three facilities.

Though a majority of college respondents reported that they formed partnerships with outside organizations, they were less likely to do so than non-college respondents. While 81.3 percent of college respondents had formed such partnerships, 91.3 percent of non-college respondents had done so. The most common partner for college respondents was other colleges and universities. Some 59.7 percent of college respondents said they had partnered with other colleges and universities, compared with just 30 percent of non-college respondents. The other most common partners for college respondents include: local schools (35.6 percent of college respondents had partnered with them); state government (29.8 percent); nonprofit organizations (22.9 percent); and local government (21.3 percent).

Revenues & Expenditures

Reflecting the report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, college respondents in 2015 were more likely to report that their revenues had fallen from 2013 to 2014. While 8.4 percent of respondents in 2014 projected revenues to decrease from 2013 to 2014, this year, 10.1 percent said revenues had actually fallen. Another 58.6 percent said revenues had remained the same. (See Figure 45.) Looking forward, college respondents are much more likely to expect revenues to remain the same than increase over the next two years. From 2014 to 2015, 61.4 percent said they expect revenues to remain the same, and another 60.4 percent expect steady revenues from 2015 to 2016. At the same time, 33.1 percent of college respondents expect revenues to increase from 2014 to 2015, and 30.9 percent expect an increase in 2016.

After reporting a modest increase in yearly operating expenditures from 2012 to 2013, college respondents saw a dramatic increase in operating expenditures in 2014. From fiscal 2012 to 2013, college respondents reported a 5.1 percent increase from $1,267,000 to $1,332,000 on average. From fiscal 2013 to 2014, there was a 36.6 percent increase in the average operating expenditures reported by college respondents, with an increase to an average of $1,820,000. Looking forward, college respondents reported that they expect their average operating expenditures will increase by 9.1 percent from fiscal 2014 to 2016, to an average of $1,986,000.

College respondents are among those who were least likely to report that they had taken actions to reduce their operating expenditures over the past year. Some 78.7 percent of college respondents said they had done so, compared with 85.1 percent of non-college respondents. The most common actions college respondents had taken include: improving energy efficiency (47.3 percent had done so); reducing staff (27 percent); putting construction or renovation plans on hold (26.7 percent); increasing fees (23.7 percent); and reducing their hours of operation (20 percent). The only action that colleges were more likely to take than non-college respondents was reducing their hours of operation. Among non-college respondents, 18.1 percent reported they had taken this measure.

College Facilities

Around half of college respondents said they had seen an increase in the number of people using their facilities from 2013 to 2014. Similar numbers report that they expect to see increases in 2015 and 2016. While 48.9 percent said usage of their facilities had grown from 2013 to 2014, 50.6 percent projected an increase in 2015, and 50.3 percent expect an increase in 2016. (See Figure 46.) Very few college respondents reported decreases in facility usage over that time period.

The number of college respondents who reported that they have plans for construction over the next three years fell slightly in 2015. While 60.4 percent of college respondents in 2014 reported that they had construction plans, some 58.7 percent of college respondents in 2015 have plans. (See Figure 47.) The percentage who are planning new construction, as well as those planning renovations fell slightly from 2014 to 2015, while the number who are planning additions to their existing facilities increased. Some 38.5 percent of college respondents said they had plans to renovate (down from 40.9 percent in 2014), and 24.8 percent said they planned to build new facilities (down from 30.6 percent). Some 29.2 percent said they had plans for additions, up from 26 percent in 2014.

Despite the fact that they are less likely to be planning construction, college respondents are still the biggest spenders when it comes to their construction plans. Those with construction plans plan to spend 93.2 percent more than the average for all respondents. College respondents said they would spend, on average, $7,775,000 on their construction plans. This is a decrease of 15.8 percent from the average reported by college respondents in 2014, but is more in line with numbers reported in previous years, which hovered near $8 million in 2013.


There was very little change in the past year in the types of features most commonly found among college respondents' facilities. The top 10 features currently included are: locker rooms; fitness centers; indoor sports courts such as basketball, volleyball or racquetball courts; bleachers and seating; exercise studio rooms; classrooms and meeting rooms; natural turf sports fields such as soccer or football fields; outdoor sports courts; indoor tracks; and Wi-Fi services.

College respondents were less likely than others to report that they had plans to add features at their facilities over the next three years. While 49.5 percent of non-college respondents had such plans, 37.9 percent of college respondents said they would be adding features. That said, this is an increase from 2014, when just 32 percent of college respondents said they would be adding features at their facilities.

The most commonly planned feature additions in 2015 include:

  1. Synthetic turf sports fields (planned by 33.6 percent of those who intend to add features at their facilities)
  2. Locker rooms (23.8 percent)
  3. Bleachers and seating (18.9 percent)
  4. Natural turf sports fields (15.6 percent)
  5. Fitness centers (14.8 percent)
  6. Concession areas (14.8 percent)
  7. Exercise studios (14.8 percent)
  8. Fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment (13.9 percent)
  9. Outdoor tracks (13.9 percent)
  10. Classrooms and meeting rooms (13.1 percent)

Synthetic turf sports fields continue to hold the No. 1 position, with another slight increase to the percentage of college respondents who have plans to add them at their facilities. That number has grown from 27.1 percent in 2013 to 33.6 percent in 2015. There were also increases in the percentage of college respondents who are planning to add: locker rooms (up 1.8 percent); and classrooms and meeting rooms (up 0.5 percent). The top planned features in 2015 that did not appear in the top 10 planned features for 2014 include bleachers and seating; natural turf sports fields; fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment; and outdoor tracks. These items replace indoor sports courts, indoor running tracks, outdoor sports courts, and climbing walls.

Programming

Once again, fitness programs are the most popular type of program currently offered among college respondents' facilities. Some 81.4 percent of college respondents said they currently offer fitness programs, up from 78.9 percent in 2014. More than half of college respondents also provide: mind-body/balance programs such as yoga and tai chi (61.1 percent); educational programs (55.6 percent); sports tournaments and races (53.4 percent); adult sports teams (53.1 percent); and personal training (50.2 percent). Other common programs among college respondents include: swimming programs (48.9 percent); individual sports activities such as running clubs or swim clubs (45.3 percent); aquatic exercise programs (41.8 percent); and holidays and other special events (39.2 percent).

In addition to fitness, other programming options that were offered by more college respondents in 2015 than 2014 include: sports tournaments and races (up 7.1 percent); adult sports teams (up 5.7 percent); swimming programs (up 4.5 percent); educational programs and personal training (both up 2.8 percent); and aquatic exercise (up 2.5 percent).

College respondents were less likely than non-college respondents to report that they had plans to add programming options at their facilities over the next three years. While 33.5 percent of non-college respondents have such plans, just 23.9 percent of college respondents said they would be adding programs. That said, this is an increase from 2014, when just 19 percent of college respondents had plans to add programs.

The top 10 planned program additions for college and university respondents include:

  1. Nutrition and diet counseling (up from No. 3)
  2. Day camps and summer camps (up from No. 5)
  3. Fitness programs (down from No. 1)
  4. Adult sports teams (did not appear in 2014)
  5. Personal training (down from No. 2)
  6. Mind-body/balance programs such as yoga and tai chi (down from No. 4)
  7. Aquatic exercise programs (up from No. 10)
  8. Swimming programs (did not appear in 2014)
  9. Educational programs (down from No. 6)
  10. Individual sports activities (did not appear in 2014)

Programs in the top 10 for 2014 that do not appear in 2015 include sports tournaments and races; water sports such as kayaking and canoeing; and sport-specific training such as golf and tennis lessons.



© Copyright 2019 Recreation Management. All rights reserved.