Campus finance leaders have concerns over financial status quo

Results of UB's Outlook 2019 survey of college and university finance administrators

“Higher education is the Blockbuster Video store in a Netflix world.” That’s the way one campus finance administrator describes the need to alter the business model of higher education. Of the 113 finance leaders who responded to UB’s survey, one-third were from institutions with 1,000 to 5,000 students and one-quarter were from those with more than 15,000 students.

Results of UB's Outlook on 2019 survey of campus finance administrators
Results of UB’s Outlook on 2019 survey of campus finance administrators

Colleges and universities continue to rely on tuition revenue for increases in revenue, with 53 percent expecting at least modest increases in this area (only 4 percent, however, anticipate significant increases).

A big chunk of respondents—40 percent—would grade their institution’s agility in responding to a changing business climate as a C. Significantly fewer campus finance administrators gave A grades compared to last year. About one-third are anticipating more advancement income in 2019 compared to 2018.

On the spending side, health benefits and staff salaries will be the most common areas to experience increases in the coming year. Nearly two-thirds of respondents expect to spend some or significantly more on technology and on facilities.

Campus finance leaders anticipate the greatest changes in the demands of their roles related to leveraging data and having more emphasis on budgets. Those areas were also the top responses in last year’s survey.

Highest on the list of priorities for 2019 are addressing administrative inefficiencies, improving financial strategic planning processes and keeping up with technology—the three biggest priorities for 2018 as well.

Source: UB survey; all numbers have been rounded

Read more Outlook on 2019 features.

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