Education Trends and Hot Topics

State of Facilities in Higher Education Report Released

Greenville, SC – Gordian released the 9th edition of the State of Facilities in Higher Education report, which confirms a growing backlog of capital needs and reveals a downturn in operating budgets.

Preliminary fiscal year 2021 data shows a year-over-year investment reduction of 19%, as major capital projects were slowed or halted, and recurring stewardship expenditures dipped further.

Throughout the report, Gordian’s database research and its insights affirm the following trends that are shifting the higher education landscape:

  • Preliminary data warns that the facilities investment shortfall to anticipated demands is approaching 40%, accelerating the deferral of projects necessary to steward the campus.
  • Gordian’s database shows an average need of $105/GSF at the end of FY20.
  • 30% of buildings in the Gordian database are in the 10-25-year age group, and the major systems of many of them will soon reach the end of their lives. A convergence of anticipated lifecycle needs for a large portfolio of campus facilities and the well-documented enrollment cliff on the horizon is expected to bear down on higher ed over the next 10-15 years.
  • Operating budgets have plunged 9% since FY19, and preliminary data for FY21 shows an average workforce reduction of 8%.
  • Survey results through a partnership with APPA revealed a silver lining — 56% of facilities leaders indicated they have greater influence on campus since the pandemic.