Nine out of 10 universities plan £100m-plus investments in next five years

Despite the Augar review, universities are still planning to invest between £100m and £300m in the next five years, a CUBO survey has found

Universities plan to invest hundreds of million in campuses in the next five years, according to a survey by Cubo.

In response to the College and University Business Officers’ (Cubo) survey of 59 providers, 92% planned to invest more than £100m in the next five years.

The majority of providers reported an annual turnover of between £100m and £300m.

Two-thirds of respondents put new academic and research buildings as the top priority. Twenty-four per cent of providers plan to prioritise new residential buildings and 18% in IT infrastructure, but only one HEI included carbon reduction as a primary focus for investment.

The survey also asked universities how they rated their facilities and campuses, and what plans they had to improve them.

On average, universities considered their sport and residential services better than their retail services, which leadership teams rated at around six out of 10. Although 60% of institutions were very proud of their campuses, less than 10% thought they worked well for the local community.

Every university polled agreed the campus experience was vital to attracting new students, but those that span multiple campuses (often those providers on the edge or out of town) were four times less likely to say they showcased themselves well than universities based on a single campus.

The survey also found

  • Only 20% strongly agreed that their university was developing “smart campus technology” versus 40% who disagreed
  • A half of HEIs said more than 80% of students were guaranteed their first preference of residence
  • The most popular ideas for improving residences included flexible pricing, short-term lets and more ensuite rooms

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