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Cutting Into Higher Ed AV Budgets

Smaller Budgets, Same Professor Demands

As universities and schools around the world prepare for a new academic year, educators are bracing themselves for tough times ahead. In this era of tight higher ed budgets and supply chain disruptions, the future of education is uncertain. The latest episode of the EDTech podcast, titled “Budgets & Big Screens,” delves into the challenges facing the education industry and offers some solutions.

Decreased Budgets for Increased Needs

Host Erin Maher-Moran is joined by three experts: Rob Rasberry, Assistant Director of Multimedia Services for Drexel University; Ernie Bailey, Director of AV Services for the University of Arkansas; and Scott Tiner, Director of Client Services for Bates College. Together, they explore how educators can cope with budget cuts and supply chain disruptions. Tiner’s rAVe Pubs article “‘Tis the Season (for Budget Cuts).” was the jumping off point. The article details various reasons that educators may see budget cuts and why this won’t be a standard budgeting season for most schools.

One of the main reasons behind the budget cuts is the tough economy. However, rising costs and inflation are also contributing factors. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced educators to upgrade their classrooms, and this has led to a perfect storm of increased demand and decreased budgets.

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Struggling With Employee Salaries

Maher-Moran points out that her budget should be increasing, but instead, she is expected to do more with less. Her employees are leaving for better-paying opportunities, and there’s no money to attract new talent. Tiner is facing similar challenges, with HR telling him to hire less advanced staff, even though he needs more skilled employees.

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Bailey’s frustration is that the constrained budget doesn’t allow for upgrades. When potential students visit his university, they see that they don’t have what the school down the road has. This affects recruiting and could lead to lower enrollment.

Supply Chain Issues Mess With Budgets

Supply chain issues are another headache for educators. They order products, but they don’t arrive until the next fiscal year, which means they’ve paid for them twice. There’s no money left for new gadgets and gizmos that would make their classrooms stand out.

In conclusion, educators need to be prepared for tough times ahead. The podcast offers some advice, such as letting higher-ups know what you won’t be able to do next year, but there’s no magic bullet. The education industry needs to come together to find solutions to these challenges.

You can listen to the full EDTech episode here.


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