Feature Article - June 2009
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A Look at Trends in Colleges & Universities


espondents from colleges and universities made up 13.2 percent of the total responses to the State of the Industry survey, with the largest number (60.4 percent) hailing from public institutions. Another third (33.4 percent) indicated they work for private schools.

Unlike respondents from parks and school districts, respondents in this category were far more likely to manage fewer facilities, with nearly two-thirds (63.7 percent) saying that they manage three or fewer facilities. Less than one in 10 (6.6 percent) operates 10 or more facilities.

Respondents from colleges and universities were somewhat less likely than those from other facility types to indicate high levels of concern about the impact of the recession on their facilities, and this bears out in terms of these respondents' expectations when it comes to their revenues and operating budgets. Respondents from colleges and universities seem to be expecting more financial stability than respondents in other categories, though there's still no doubt they're feeling a pinch.

More than a fifth (21.7 percent) of college/university respondents said they either felt neutral or were not concerned about the impact the recession might have on their facilities, while slightly more than half (52.4 percent) were "somewhat concerned." Only about a quarter (25.8 percent) said they were "extremely concerned." Compare this to the situation of schools and school districts, where 89 percent of respondents are extremely or somewhat concerned about the economy's impact on their facility, with nearly half (49 percent) feeling "extremely concerned."

Economic Matters

This economic impact plays out in the questions revolving around usage and budgets. College and university respondents were among those most likely to be anticipating increasing usage at their facilities over the next several years. They were the most likely to report increasing usage from 2007 to 2008, with 64.7 percent reporting an increase, and just over a third (34.2 percent) reporting no change.

Likewise, they were most likely to be expecting an increase in 2009, with 63 percent expecting an increase in the number of people using their facilities that year and 31.7 percent projecting no change. From 2009 to 2010, 58.4 percent expect an increase. (See Figure 41.)