ACSA 2015-16 Budget and Enrollment Survey Results

December 2015


This year’s Budget and Enrollment Survey reflects budget, applications, enrollment, and academic staffing changes at 62 schools, including over 43% of ACSA’s full and Canadian member institutions. The survey is conducted annually and this report includes data collection dating as far back as the 2010-11 academic year. The purpose of this report is (1) to provide a cross-section of information regarding the current status of funding and admissions at architecture schools and (2) identify any ongoing trends survey results may suggest.

Architecture Program Budgets

Changes in total budgets at architecture schools from last year to this year remained relatively stable. Two thirds of schools reported no change or a budget increase, while a slightly higher percentage reported budget decreases than did last year (33% in 2015-16 compared to 29% in 2014-15). Since 2012-13 the number of schools reporting total budget decreases has crept up, particularly for schools experiencing drops of greater than –6%. This has been accompanied by a slowly diminishing number of budget increases. Additionally, the recent trend of more budget decreases has not reached the peak of 2011-12, when nearly half of reporting architecture programs experienced budget decreases.
Most schools continue to report no changes in their travel budgets as illustrated over the past four out of five years. However, a slightly greater percentage of schools is reporting an increase from the 2014-15 academic year. Moreover, most schools are anticipating an even further increase to travel budgets in their projections for 2016-17.

Similar to travel budgets, the majority of schools report no change in discretionary budgets from the 2014-15 to the 2015-16 academic year. Survey findings also show an upward shift in participating schools that report an increase in budget allocations.

As seen on this chart, commonalities were found between ACSA regions in regards to total budget changes. More schools in Canada and the East Central region showed total budget increases, on the whole, than the other five regions and reported no decreases more than –6%.

The West Central and the Mid-Atlantic regions also show similar patterns in the distribution of schools reporting increases, decreases, and no changes. Most schools in both regions reported no change in their total budget and showed smaller and more even increases and decreases at all other levels.

Other research findings show the Northeast and West region as the only locations where the most significant increase is reported (more than +6%). Schools in the Gulf showed the greatest segment of decreases more than -6%.

Enrollment and Applications

Overall, pre-professional programs show little change over last year across enrollment and applications numbers. However, compared to changes reported last year, a higher percentage of programs are reporting increases. For 2015-16 most schools reported being within a +/-5% margin from last year’s numbers. Considering the decline many schools saw in applications last year, this year’s findings may be an indication of a rebound in pre-professional applicants.

Additionally, a majority of the schools in the Mid-Atlantic region reported a decrease in applications while schools in the Gulf reported either no change or increasing numbers. Schools in Canada showed either no change or an increase in enrollment.

Applications and enrollment throughout B.Arch programs show mixed results, demonstrating a fairly even spread with the greatest gains seen in the Gulf region. A slight majority of schools report enrollment changes within a +/-10% margin. In comparison to last year’s findings, B.Arch programs saw a higher percentage of application decreases and a slightly higher percentage of enrollment decreases.
At the M.Arch level, respondents show a relatively positive correlation between applications and enrollment. As applications increased, so did enrollment. In both applications and enrollment, schools were more likely to report an increase, and larger schools showed less of a change than smaller schools. Relative to last year’s findings, M.Arch programs saw a higher percentage of schools showing applications increases, and a slightly higher percentage saw an increase in enrollment. Looking at the ACSA regions, M.Arch programs in the Mid-Atlantic region showed the highest positive correlation. Conversely, programs in Canada showed the lowest correlation. Schools in the East Central regions showed the largest positive change in applications.

Consistent with last year’s report, post-professional and other graduate programs were more likely to see an increase in enrollment than a decrease. Conversely, the percentage of programs showing a decrease in applications has significantly increased from last year’s report. There are no evident disparities relative to the associated region for each program.
In terms of anticipated academic staffing changes, the results from this year’s survey continue to show increases in faculty hiring overall. Adding full-time faculty remains the most frequently reported change for schools and this year’s findings show an even further decline in full-time faculty reduction. Part-time faculty additions and reductions seem to show stable results from 2014 to 2015. Many schools noted senior faculty retirement and increased enrollment as a catalyst for hiring new faculty members.

This last chart shows the distribution of respondents by ACSA region. The largest number of schools that participated in the survey were from the Mid-Atlantic and Gulf regions. The smallest number of schools that participated in the survey were from Canada and the Northeast.

ACSA would like to thank all of the schools that shared their data in regards to budget, enrollment, applications and academic staffing. School participation is integral in our quest to provide a full and accurate picture of these dynamics across architecture schools. For questions and comments about this report, contact Kendall Nicholson, Director of Research + Information.

Return to ACSA's Budget and Enrollment Survey page or Data Resources.