Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

As College Presidents Earn Big Bucks, Students Pay More and Get Less

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

As College Presidents Earn Big Bucks, Students Pay More and Get Less

Article excerpt

Each spring, as college graduates collect their diplomas and their first student loan payment slips, the Chronicle of Higher Education publishes its list of public university presidents collecting the biggest paychecks. Median salaries were up 5 percent for the 2013 fiscal year. Nine presidents took home more than $1 million.

Why should students and faculty - and everyone who cares about them - pay close attention to the upward spiral of such salaries? Because according to our research, these highest-paid presidents are more likely to preside over public universities where student debt is growing fastest and the number of full-time faculty is shrinking.

In our analysis, published by the Institute for Policy Studies, we asked a simple question: How are the highest-paid presidents doing when it comes to addressing the crises of rising student debt and part-time, or temporary, faculty labor?

Not well. From 2005 to 2012, average student debt at the 25 state schools with the highest-paid presidents rose 13 percent faster than the national average at four-year public universities. Permanent faculty - 54 percent of total faculty in 2005 - fell to just 48 percent by 2011. The number of part-time and temporary faculty members at these schools rose 29 percent faster than the national average for all universities, including community colleges.

The effects of crushing student debt are well known. But the decline of permanent faculty may hurt students even more by reducing the quality of their education.

In a recent survey, 98 percent of part-time faculty said they were "missing opportunities to better serve their students because of the demands of their schedule." The majority were teaching at more than one school. Some taught as many as 10 courses per semester. Temporary faculty, even if working full time, move on quickly when their contracts end. …

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