NACE Logo NACE Center Logo
National Association of Colleges and Employers NACE Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition
mobile menu
  • Career Services Budgets: Dipping Medians, Slow Growth

    May 17, 2017 | By NACE Staff

    Organizational Structure
    Data showcasing career services budgets in 2017.

    TAGS: operations, trends and predictions, surveys, benchmarks, spotlight

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

    The overall median career services operating budget has dipped slightly to $34,650, compared to last year’s overall operating budget of $35,000, according to NACE’s 2016-17 Career Services Benchmark Report for Colleges and Universities.

    While this is only a 1 percent drop, in terms of real dollars using 2011 as a base, the median budget is down 2.2 percent. (See Figure 1.) And, compared to 2011, the five-year growth of career services operating budgets in terms of real dollars is only 4.8 percent. Overall budgets for career centers have not grown significantly over the last several years in terms of nominal dollars either.

    By Carnegie Classification, reported non-personnel operating budget amounts were very wide-ranging, with the lowest average ($17,516) reported by baccalaureate-diverse institutions and the highest average ($230,409) reported by R1 institutions. (See Figure 2.)

    Data were collected for the 2016-17 Career Services Benchmark Survey Report for Colleges and Universities from September 30, 2016, to January 20, 2017, from NACE member institutions; there were 705 respondents, representing 35.3 percent of all eligible respondents. Highlights from the 2016-17 Career Services Benchmark Report for Colleges and Universities are available on NACEWeb. Participating members can access the full report through MyNACE.

    Figure 1: Median Non-Personnel Operating Budget, 2011-16

    Year Nominal Dollars Real Dollars
    (With 2011 as Base)
    2016 $34,650 $32,475
    2015 $35,000 $33,216
    2014 $31,000 $29,455
    2013 $34,000 $32,830
    2012 $30,000 $29,392
    2011 $31,000 $31,000
    Source: 2016-17 Career Services Benchmark Survey Report for Colleges and Universities, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    Figure 2: Non-Personnel Operating Budget for the 2016-17 Academic Year, by Carnegie Classification

    Group Carnegie Classification
    (Abbreviation)
    Percentile 25 Mean Median Percentile 75
    Overall $16,285 $79,767 $34,650 $81,499
    Doctoral Universities Highest Research Activity (R1) $99,000 $230,409 $168,000 $303,809
    Higher Research Activity (R2) $36,500 $120,887 $64,000 $239,705
    Moderate Research Activity (R3) $25,573 $105,061 $56,000 $120,000
    Master’s Colleges & Universities Larger Programs (M1) $15,000 $48,797 $33,432 $59,090
    Medium Programs (M2) $12,937 $43,718 $21,000 $55,000
    Smaller Programs (M3) $15,950 $26,960 $18,245 $36,310
    Baccalaureate Colleges Arts & Sciences Focus (A&S) $24,153 $66,849 $44,636 $80,000
    Diverse Fields (Diverse) $6,730 $17,516 $12,225 $24,000
    Associate’s Colleges (Assoc.) $9,000 $28,464 $15,642 $32,886
    Source: 2016-17 Career Services Benchmark Survey Report for Colleges and Universities, National Association of Colleges and Employers