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Budgets & Staffing

Watch The State of Higher Ed Marcom Budgets webinar, which takes a closer look at the state of higher ed budgets and staffing and what that means for you and your staff.

There's a chasm developing in higher education. Can you feel it?

The gap between institutions thriving and barely surviving has never felt so significant. And that variability is certainly present in the marketing investments and resourcing reported in this year's CMO Study. Amidst the fluctuation, one universal truth has emerged: CMOs at every level of tenure, campus size, and institution type are experiencing the strain of pronounced leadership expectations and resourcing that feels inadequate to meet them. While the gap between marketing realities feels sizable, our data suggests it's likely to grow even more in the years to come, with the possibility of existential, long-term impact for some colleges and universities.

Most higher ed CMOs report that their institution’s investment in marketing is inadequate. The trends show a strong variability in budgets and staffing linked to institutional size.

This variability affects where and how higher ed CMOs spend their money, especially in advertising and marketing technology.

CMOs at large institutions report moderate but consistent gains in staffing this year.

The average staff size at large institutions grew by four positions compared to 2021—the average staff size is now 33, compared to 29 in 2021. And while small school CMOs also reported increased staffing levels, their gains were more modest, with the average team size increasing by two positions—the average staff size is now 9, compared to 7 in 2021.

These gaps create a rift in institutional enrollment, philanthropic, and reputational successes.

The higher education landscape is undergoing a significant transformation, characterized by a widening chasm between institutions experiencing enrollment, reputational, and philanthropic growth and those facing stagnation or decline. And the growing awareness and desirability of higher ed brands and the overall student experience among prospective students accompanies this shift. If this trend continues, we will witness increasing gaps that lead to further consolidation, closures, and declines in public perception.

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Download the budgets & staffing report to see more data, learn why this matters, and read how you can maximize impact at your institution.

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