Public colleges and universities across the country have been seeing their budgets slashed. Last year, nearly every state in the US spent about 28 percent less on their institutions of higher learning than they did in 2008. Arizona and New Hampshire cut their funding in half, while 11 states cut it by a third. These cuts have forced public institutions to raise their tuition and make other changes that undermine the quality of their course offerings.
Despite these reductions, public colleges and universities have seen their enrollment rise by 1.3 million students since 2008. Many of these institutions, including the “public ivies,” have reputations and rankings to maintain, so they are trying to find new ways to provide a high level of value and services for their growing enrollment.
Everywhere you look, public entities—libraries, schools, government buildings and more–are talking about cutting back. Cutbacks are inevitable, but it can be done in a way that lessens the impact.
People counting software can help universities to make the most out of their budgets by identifying underused amenities. Why use people counting software? There are four main reasons: visibility, space, value and budget.
- Visibility: Students and faculty may drift in and out of student unions and libraries during the day to eat, meet with friends or study. People counting software allows universities to see how many visit there, regardless of whether they make a purchase or not, so the proper amount of resources can be allocated. An accurate count reduces waste of food, supplies, power and more.
- Space: Space accounts for 20 percent of an educational institution’s budget. Efforts to expand or reorganize need to be carefully evaluated, so people counting software can help conduct an audit of a building’s usage. Installing counters above doors and hallways can provide actual traffic numbers that can help determine what space is over-or under-utilized, how students and staff flow through the space, if it needs to be reorganized and where more resources should be spent.
- Value: Tallying traffic counts help university buildings and organizations prove they are providing value to students and show they are a sought-after campus resource. First impressions of a university’s buildings and infrastructure are a major factor in where a student decides to attend school. People counting software can help track a shift in student foot traffic, indicating an opinion about a change in hours, customer service or resources. In addition, when it comes time to trim the budget, people counts can help pinpoint underutilized buildings or organizations that can be considered for downsizing.
- Budget: People counting software provides the most accurate data to determine the ebb and flow of each building, so managers can keep the property running at optimal efficiency. They can reduce the hours as necessary and extend them during peak times. Having this information on hand allows colleges to only spend what they need to rather than having a flood of staff on the clock at all hours.