ACSA 2016-17 Budget and Enrollment Survey Results

November 2016


This year’s Budget and Enrollment Survey reflects budget, applications, enrollment, and academic staffing changes at 66 schools, comprising over 45% 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.

An exploration of the budget and enrollment sections are provided below. Stay tuned for additional findings.

Part 1: Architecture Program Budgets

Changes in total budgets at architecture schools saw an upward shift from last year to this year. More than 76% of schools reported no change (34%) or a budget increase (42%).  On average, fewer schools reported budget decreases than did last year (23% in 2016-17 compared to 33% in 2015-16). Over the past 3 years trends showed the number of schools reporting total budget decreases increasing, particularly for schools experiencing drops of greater than –6%. This year we see a dramatic shift in the number of schools reporting decreases making it the lowest percentage seen to date.
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 are reporting an increase from the 2015-16 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 2015-16 to the 2016-17 academic year. Survey findings also show a slight downward shift in participating schools that report a decrease in budget allocations.


Part 2: Architecture Program Enrollments

When evaluating this year’s changes in enrollment and applications, the most salient point is the increase in enrollment and applications for pre-professional programs.  Out of the responding institutions offering pre-professional programs only 13% of them saw a decrease in either metric.

Despite B.Arch applications showing an even split of respondents, enrollment seems to be mostly increasing. Additionally, there is a concentration of larger institutions reporting increases in enrollment which is notably dissimilar to last year’s report.

Conversely, similar to last year’s findings at the the M.Arch/D.Arch level, respondents show a relatively positive correlation between applications and enrollment. While smaller programs tend to follow that pattern more rigidly, (as applications increase so does enrollment and vice versa), large programs most often saw no change or an increase in enrollment.

This positive correlation shown in professional programs is also seen in post-professional programs.  Programs in the East Central region showed the highest levels of decrease in applications and programs in the West showed a larger decrease in enrollment.


Overall, enrollment and applications for the 2016-17 year showed positive gains in enrollment across the board and a positive relationship between applications and enrollment suggesting stability in architectural education admissions.

Part 3: Other Survey Findings

Unfortunately, the previously stated projected budget increases did not translate directly to academic staffing. Our research indicates that less schools are adding full-time faculty and more schools are seeing a reduction of full-time faculty than in the previous year.  

Qualitative data suggests that there are a number of faculty members retiring which is confounding the results of the research.  Despite the reduction of full-time faculty, schools also reported that there would not be an increase in faculty loads.
This years Budget and Enrollment survey garnered responses from all 7 of ACSA's defined regions.  Schools in the West showed the highest turnout making up just over 17% of the survey population which is well aligned with the distribution of all schools in the regions compared to all ACSA Member schools.  Canada made up the smallest subset of schools 7.6% of schools which also corresponds to 7.9% of Canadian schools that make up the full membership.

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.