NACUBO will be conducting a variety of polls and surveys that measure the impact of the crisis on institutional finances and potential recovery options. Listed below are brief summaries of these data collection efforts, and, when polls and surveys are open, opportunities for NACUBO members to participate.
Visit our COVID-19 Resources page for additional information and resources for NACUBO members.
Weathering Pandemic Pressures
A deeper dive into the responses from a recent NACUBO survey of business officers on current circumstances and future plans sheds light on the financial strategies being deployed by institutions—and illuminates key differences in how different types of colleges are responding to the COVID-19 outfall. Most of the four-year private, nonprofit colleges responding to our survey are small institutions, and our survey results suggest this type of institution tends to be experiencing greater stress and is taking more dramatic business steps than public colleges. Read more.
Institutions Demonstrate Resilience During Pandemic
“The uncertainty of the end of the pandemic and unknown changes in students plans to attend college make estimating revenues extremely challenging,” one NACUBO member noted in response to NACUBO’s year-end survey, conducted December 16, 2020–January 7, 2021. NACUBO deployed the survey to seek insights on the current academic year fiscal concerns and to better understand how colleges and universities are planning for FY22. In total, 151 chief business and financial officers responded. Read more here.
Colleges Make Limited Use of Available Pandemic-Related Tax Relief
Fall 2020 Institutional Plans
NACUBO’s August 10 flash poll asked institutions about their plans for Fall 2020, now that many schools have a better idea of what the academic term will look like. In the last week, several large universities have canceled or changed the course of their fall term plans for on-campus instruction. This survey received 208 valid responses and ran from August 10 to August 19. It was not designed to capture any changes made in the last week. Overall, poll results indicate that most institutions plan to offer classes both in-person and online. Read more here.
Fall 2020 Planning
NACUBO’s June 9 flash poll focused on institutional plans for Fall 2020. Overall, the poll results indicate that many schools plan to begin resuming some normal operations this fall. The survey received 106 valid responses and ran from June 9 to June 16. Read more here.
COVID-19 Endowment Impacts and Stewardship Strategies
To learn more about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on endowment values and investment and spending strategies, NACUBO recently surveyed the 2019 NACUBO-TIAA Study of Endowments institutional participants. In total, 333 institutions responded to a NACUBO poll of 2019 NACUBO-TIAA Study of Endowments participants between April 27 – May 15, 2020. The survey was designed to learn more about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on endowment values and investment and spending strategies. NACUBO found that during the first quarter of 2020, colleges and universities experienced an average loss of 13.4 percent in endowment values and, on average, 20 percent of endowment funds were underwater. Read more here.
NACUBO’s May 26th flash poll focused on liquidity concerns colleges and universities may be facing in light of the financial strain caused by responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The poll results indicate that the majority of participating institutions are somewhat concerned about their liquidity outlook through December 31, 2020. Read more here.
Institutional Share of CARES Act Relief Funds
NACUBO’s May 19 flash poll focused on how colleges and universities have used or intend to use the designated institutional share of CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HERF). Even institutions that had not yet received this portion of their CARES Act funds were encouraged to respond by telling us about their anticipated use of these funds. The poll ran from May 19 to May 21. See our findings here.
Distance Learning Costs
Since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, nearly all higher education institutions have instituted new or expanded online learning strategies. This online poll allowed NACUBO to measure the distanced-based learning activities and related costs member institutions have experienced. The poll ran from May 12 to 14. See our findings here.
Emergency Grant Aid to Students
Colleges and universities have begun to distribute more than $6 billion in emergency grant aid to students adversely affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. NACUBO received 262 responses to a poll on this funding that ran from May 5 to 7. See our findings and consider our observations here.
Fall 2020 Enrollment Strategies
NACUBO polled its members about their insights on potential changes to their enrollment for fall 2020, and strategies they are using to stem expected enrollment declines. The poll ran from April 28- May 1, and included 142 institutional participants. See the findings and consider our observations here.
- Roughly 8-out-of-10 participating schools expected their numbers of students to decline in fall 2019 compared with the previous year, with half the participants expecting a decline of 5% or more. Schools have instituted a number of changes in their admissions practices to deal with these enrollment declines:
- 38% of participants have pushed back the deadline date for prospective entering students to send admissions deposits, while 9% have waived the deposit requirement entirely
- 76 (53.5%) of the participating institutions have gone either permanently or temporarily admissions "test optional"
- 48% of private nonprofit institutions plan to increase their financial aid offers to undergraduate students
- Download the poll results (PDF)
Use of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
This poll provided NACUBO members the opportunity to share their experiences with applying for financial relief from the Paycheck Protection Program, and to share any staffing-related actions their schools may be taking in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The poll ran from April 21-24, and included responses from 122 institutions.
View the poll results (PDF). About one-third of the participants from private non-profit colleges and universities said they received or had been approved for PPP funding. Only 7 percent of those from public institutions received PPP benefits, perhaps due to the 500 employee size limit in the program. In addition, hiring freezes and furloughs are thus far the two main employee-related strategies institutions have instituted thus far to control costs, but 41 percent of schools were unsure of what if any additional actions they may take in the future.
"Main Street" Loans
NACUBO members shared their initial thoughts on the "Main Street" loan program created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and intended for small- and mid-size employers. The poll ran from April 14 - April 19, 2020 and included responses from nearly 200 institutions. Note: poll results were posted prior to guidance from the Federal Reserve, which states that colleges, universities, and other nonprofit organizations are not eligible to participate in the Main Street program.
- View the poll results (PDF). About one-third of the participants from private non-profit colleges and universities said they received or had been approved for PPP funding. Only 7 percent of those from public institutions received PPP benefits, perhaps due to the 500 employee size limit in the program. In addition, hiring freezes and furloughs are thus far the two main employee-related strategies institutions have instituted thus far to control costs, but 41 percent of schools were unsure of what if any additional actions they may take in the future.