The paper presents the results of studies on the estate autonomy and accountability of publicly funded higher education institutions in Poland. An attempt has been made to answer the questions: "Was the level of HEI campus use in recent years the subject of public and administrative control? Were the decisions on significant extension of campuses economically viable?" The questions are of special imortance in view of the deepening demographic decline, the lower level of public funding and the growing estate operating costs. An analysis of empirical data shows that when considerable resources, both national an European, were available for HEI infrastructure upgrading and development, Polish HEIs were not under an obligation to show how they manage the assets at their disposal. This may have contributed to a substantial, albeit not always judicious increase in the space available, which in turn may give rise to financial problems of individual HEIs and affect the future of the whole system of higher educaton.