Stunning report: Great Recession still lording over campus IT

Massive Campus Computing Survey shows that most colleges and universities still undergoing budget cuts in the aftershocks of the struggling economy; angst against analytics.

Eight years after the beginning of the Great Recession, almost two-thirds (63 percent) of the CIOs and senior IT officers who participated in Campus Computing’s 2016 survey report that IT funding at their campus “has not fully recovered from the budget cuts experienced over the past four-six years.” And it’s this lack of recovery that’s currently affecting multiple IT issues, such as personnel, instruction, security…and a growing angst with analytics.

The Campus Computing Survey, which surveyed the IT departments of over 330 institutions, is an annual survey part of the Campus Computing Project—the largest continuing study of the role of computing, eLearning, and information technology in American higher education. The project’s national studies draw on qualitative and quantitative data aim to help inform campus IT leaders, college faculty and administrators, policy-makers, and others interested in a wide array of information technology planning and policy issues that affect colleges and universities.

The big takeaway from this year’s Campus Computing Survey? Budget cuts are still occurring in almost every type of institution across the country, and technology solutions that are receiving investments had better be worth the hype.

“Almost a third of public universities and BA/MA institutions, a quarter of private BA/MA colleges, a fifth of private universities, and more than two-fifths of community colleges experienced IT budget cuts for the 2016-2017 academic year,” highlighted the Campus Computing Survey. “Moreover, many campuses also suffered mid-year budget reductions for 2016/17, averaging 8 percent, which compounds the consequences of the annual budget cuts. Unfortunately, this has been the recurring cycle for a significant number of institutions across all sectors: an annual budget cut followed by a mid-year budget reduction.”

According to the survey, constantly thinking about budget affects many other of IT’s growing issues.

“At many institutions, the rising demand coupled with continuing budget cuts threaten to overwhelm the core IT infrastructure–mission critical instructional resources and administrative services,” says Kenneth C. Green, founding director of The Campus Computing Project.

(Next page: 7 findings from the 2016 Campus Computing Survey)