Dear Commons Community,
The New York Times has an article referring to a recent study from the Institute for Policy Studies that concludes that at the 25 public universities with the highest-paid presidents, both student debt and the use of part-time adjunct faculty grew far faster than at the average state university from 2005 to 2012. As reported in the article:
“The study, “The One Percent at State U: How University Presidents Profit from Rising Student Debt and Low-Wage Faculty Labor,” examined the relationship between executive pay, student debt and low-wage faculty labor at the 25 top-paying public universities.
The co-authors, Andrew Erwin and Marjorie Wood, found that administrative expenditures at the highest-paying universities outpaced spending on scholarships by more than two to one. And while adjunct faculty members became more numerous at the 25 universities, the share of permanent faculty declined drastically.”
The key findings are as follows:
Since the 2008 financial crisis, executive pay at “the top 25” (see Appendix 2) has risen dramatically to far exceed pre-crisis levels. Over the same period, low-wage faculty labor and student debt at these institutions rose faster than national averages. In short, a top-heavy, “1% recovery” occurred at major state universities across the country, largely at the expense of students and faculty.
- The student debt crisis is worse at state schools with the highest-paid presidents. The sharpest rise in student debt at the top 25 occurred when executive compensation soared the highest.
- As students went deeper in debt, administrative spending outstripped scholarship spending by more than 2 to 1 at state schools with the highest-paid presidents.
- As presidents’ pay at the top 25 skyrocketed after 2008, part-time adjunct faculty increased more than twice as fast as the national average at all universities.
- At state schools with the highest-paid presidents, permanent faculty declined dramatically as a percentage of all faculty. By fall 2012, part-time and contingent faculty at the top 25 outnumbered permanent faculty for the first time.
- Average executive pay at the top 25 rose to nearly $1 million by 2012– increasing more than twice as fast as the national average at public research universities.
How did we let this situation evolve in American higher education?