As Campuses Crumble, Budgets Are Crunched
As seen in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Colleges across the country have always struggled with deferred maintenance, but several factors might make that struggle especially challenging in the future. Colleges grew rapidly in the postwar years and have a generation of 1960s or 70s buildings that need major repair or replacement. In the past 10 years, colleges went through another building boom, adding to the square footage they need to support. Many of those new buildings are more costly and complicated to maintain than buildings of the past.
To make things even more difficult, colleges face a money crunch. A looming energy crisis and an unstable economy, combined with infrastructure repairs needed in other public spaces, may squeeze the state budgets that public colleges rely on. Tuition-dependent private colleges might not be better off. In coming years, colleges will very likely vie for fewer students, even as their buildings play a major role in the admissions sales pitch.
In short, without drastic intervention, many campuses may be on a track toward steady deterioration.
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