Feature Article - June 2014
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A Look at Trends in Colleges & Universities

Colleges & Universities


Revenues & Expenditures

The number of college and university respondents reporting that revenues decreased year over year increased slightly from 2012 to 2013. While 7.3 percent said revenues were lower in 2012 than in 2011, 8 percent said revenues were lower in 2013 than in 2012. Looking forward, 8.4 percent expect revenues to be lower in 2014 than in 2013. By 2015, that number falls to 6.8 percent, and more than one-third of respondents projected revenues would increase from 2014 to 2015. The majority of college respondents expect revenues to remain steady year-over-year in the time period covered by the survey. (See Figure 45.)

After reporting a steep 15 percent decline in operating expenditures from 2011 to 2012, college respondents saw their operating expenses grow a bit again in fiscal 2013. The average operating cost of $1,332,000 for colleges in fiscal 2013 is 5.1 percent higher than the average in 2012 of $1,267,000. College respondents also project a much steeper increase in operating expenditures over the next two years. While for all respondents, operating expenditures are expected to increase 4.1 percent from fiscal 2012 to fiscal 2015, from $1,456,000 to $1,515,000, college and university respondents are expecting a 14.2 percent increase from $1,267,000 to $1,447,000.

College respondents are among those least likely to report that they had taken action to reduce expenditures. While 82.4 percent of non-college respondents said they had taken action to reduce their operating costs, just 75.1 percent of college respondents had done so. They were more likely than others to report that they had reduced their hours of operation. Some 23.1 percent of college respondents had done so vs. 20.1 percent of all respondents. Other common actions taken among college respondents include improving energy efficiency (42.6 percent), reducing staff levels (30.3 percent), increasing fees (28.9 percent) and putting construction and renovation plans on hold (21.4 percent).

College Facilities

Slightly fewer college respondents reported that the number of people using their facilities had increased from 2012 to 2013 compared with 2011 to 2012. While 52.6 percent said usage had increased from 2011 to 2012, 49.7 percent said usage had increased from 2012 to 2013. The number falls further, to 48.7 percent, from 2013 to 2014, and 47.6 percent from 2014 to 2015. (See Figure 46.)

As with most of the respondents to the survey, an increasing number of college respondents reported that they had plans for construction over the next three years. In 2011, just 53.6 percent of college respondents had such plans. That number has risen steadily over the past couple of years, and in 2014, 60.4 percent of college respondents have construction plans. The greatest increase was seen in those who have plans for new construction, which jumped from just 19.7 percent in 2013 to 30.6 percent in 2014. The number who expect to add to or renovate existing facilities was more steady year over year. In 2014, 26 percent of college respondents said they were planning to add to existing facilities, and 40.9 percent have plans for renovations. (See Figure 47.)

College respondents are still among the biggest spenders when it comes to their construction plans. In 2014, college respondents are planning to spend 105.3 percent more than all respondents on their construction plans, with an average construction budget of $9,229,000. College respondents also have seen their average construction budget grow more rapidly than other respondents. While among all respondents, construction budgets grew by 14 percent from 2011 to 2014, for college respondents construction budgets grew by 20.2 percent from $7,681,000 in 2011 to $9,229,000 in 2014.

There is very little change over the past few years in the types of features most commonly found in college respondents' facilities. The top 10 features currently included are: fitness centers; locker rooms; indoor sports courts such as volleyball and basketball courts; exercise studio rooms; bleachers and seating; classrooms and meeting rooms; natural turf sports fields; indoor tracks; outdoor sports courts; and indoor aquatic facilities. Concession stands, which appeared on the list in 2013, were replaced by indoor tracks.