Colleges and universities of all types and sizes are planning new investments in virtually all areas of operations as economic recovery entrenches itself in higher education, according to a University Business survey of campus leaders.
Student success and retention, along with recruitment and enrollment, lead the way among the many areas that will see a fresh commitment of funding and other resources over the next 18 months.
“After a period of retrenchment, this is a sign that higher education is renewing investment in support of its mission to foster institutional and student success,” says JD Solomon, editorial director of University Business. “These survey results support what we’ve been seeing in our reporting: Schools are putting the bad years behind them and moving forward in innovative and creative ways—and succeeding.” Spending priorities were consistent across U.S. two- and four-year institutions—from small colleges with enrollments under 1,000 to universities with more than 15,000 students in both graduate and undergraduate programs.
More than 83 percent of respondents said their institutions will devote more resources to student success and retention, while 66 percent plan a renewed focus on recruitment and enrollment. Just over half the respondents said their schools will devote new resources to physical infrastructure, including construction, renovation repairs and maintenance.
Over a third of the survey respondents said their institutions are likely to make new investments in academic technology, remote and online learning, and IT infrastructure. Finance and partnerships with private enterprise were cited as areas of likely growth by more than 25 percent of the respondents.
Over 400 high-level administrators from institutions across the country participated in the survey.