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How a VCMS Helps Institutions Address Budget Challenges

In the realm of higher education, institutions are grappling with a number of budgetary challenges that significantly impact their financial stability. From declining enrollment and reduced government funding to rising operating costs and changing demographics, a variety of external pressures have colleges and universities seeking ways to reduce expenses without sacrificing educational quality.  

Here’s a look into four challenges affecting the budgets of higher education institutions today and how a video content management system (VCMS) can help colleges and universities do more with less.

Decreased Government Funding

BDO’s 2024 CFO Outlook Survey reveals a concerning trend: a 20% decline in government funding for higher education over the past decade. This reduction places pressure on institutions to seek alternative revenue sources to sustain operations and uphold educational standards. 

This lack of investment means the a greater share of cost of higher education falls on students and families, driving the current student loan crisis, an increased demand financial aid. 

Increased Demand for Financial Aid

The surge in demand for financial aid for institutions is higher than ever. BDO’s research highlights an approximate 7% annual increase in financial aid requests, placing additional strain on institutional budgets as they allocate funds for scholarships and grants while upholding essential services.

Rising Costs of Operations

The operating costs of higher education institutions are rising–and space comes at a premium. 

Faculty salaries, facility maintenance, technology upgrades, and student support services are among the expenses that are steadily increasing, year over year.. Research shows that operational costs are rising at an average annual rate of approximately 3%. At a cumulative rate, the operational cost at four-year institutions will increase by nearly 12% from the time of entry for a freshman class through to degree attainment for that cohort.

Declining Enrollment Rates

Changing demographics, including declining birth rates and increased competition, have created a noticeable drop in student enrollment for institutions. BDO’s 2024 CFO Outlook Survey shows an average enrollment rate decline of 5% over the past five years. 

The pandemic has also had direct impact on enrollment as a new generation of would-be college students appear less ready than students matriculating in the years prior to the pandemic. HigherEd Dive reports an increasing number of students missing key benchmarks for college readiness. This gap can lead to fewer students attending college and also those who do enroll face a difficult transition which ultimately can lower retention and graduation rates. 

How Can a VCMS Help Institutions Address Budget Challenges?

As many institutions struggle to maintain physical facilities, lecture capture software offers an alternative solution. Recorded classes mean less classroom space is required. And with the increased demand for video learning, universities might be able to eliminate unused or wasted classroom space.

As enrollment declines, many colleges and universities will find a greater need to ensure that programs are designed to meet student expectations. Today’s learners demand more flexible learning experiences, which has fostered a rise in online, hybrid, and blended learning. As institutions strive to meet the diverse needs of their student body, the flexibility offered by video learning platforms allows universities to reach learners wherever they are and on their terms. 

Professors using a VCMS are able to create an engaging online learning experience by simply pressing record. The ability to capture all in-person lectures allows students to go back and review lessons whenever they want and at their own pace. Moreover, when instructors can spend less time reinforcing lessons taught in the classroom, it can potentially reduce the need for in-person office hours – creating more time for in-classroom instruction or opportunities to record lectures, making investment in high-value human capital more efficient.

Here’s How Panopto Can Help

In light of the current budget challenges faced by educational institutions, the increased need for virtual learning presents a dual opportunity and challenge. The need to design and deliver courses that integrate synchronous and asynchronous learning content is more crucial than ever. However, instructors may find this task daunting and time-consuming without the right technology tools. 

Since 2017,  Panopto has empowered instructors to enrich students’ virtual learning experiences. Through its video search and discovery features, Panopto not only simplifies access to recorded lectures and course videos but also enables students to personalize their learning journey. This flexibility provides a valuable pathway for institutions to adapt to the evolving educational environment and address the needs of a diverse student body.