Question: How many full-time students at the University of Akron have to fork over nearly $10K in annual tuition and fees this fall to cover the salaries of the institution’s 50 highest paid administrators? Answer: 1,040.
At $9,734 a pop, it takes the tuition of roughly five percent of the university’s 20,547 full-time students (according to fall 2012 enrollment figures) to pay the $10,127,487 a year that UA’s top 50 administrators earn. That figure covers just the salaries for their 12-month contracts. Bonuses, retirement benefits, health benefits and other perks are additional.
The problem is called administrative bloat. And according to the U.S. Department of Education, about $1,000 to $5,000 per student, per year is spent on administration costs. That’s roughly six to 14 percent of a pupil’s annual tuition bill.
Diversity, pay equity issues
However, when one analyzes the UA data, another issue appears. Only about 15 percent of those in the top 50 at UA are women, and the top 10 earners are all men.
These facts raise questions regarding UA’s record on diversity and gender-based pay disparity, although the institution touts its commitment to “creating a framework for excellence that incorporates diversity at its core.”
Top 10 earners at UA:
- Luis A. Proenza, president, $500,000, effective Jan. 1, 2014. This amount does not include $125K in bonuses.
- William Sherman, provost, $291,600. Sherman retired and was rehired this summer and will collect his STRS benefits, along with his salary. See the full list of UA employees who retired since 1999 and were rehired, thus double dipping by simultaneously collecting both a pension and a salary.
- Stephen Z. D. Cheng, dean, College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, $285,492
- Chand Midah, dean, College of Arts and Sciences, $279,246
- George R. Newkome, vice president, research; dean, graduate school, $266,717
- George K. Haritos, dean, engineering, $264,594
- Thomas Wistrcill, director, athletics, $243,477
- Robert A. Weiss, department chair, polymer engineering, $242,034
- Ravi Krovi, dean, College of Business Administration, $239,789
- David J Cummins, CFO, $236,900
At the same time as the University of Akron is paying its administrators top dollar, it is facing a $30 million budget deficit. And the majority of its faculty, its part-timers, earn fast food wages.
Administrative bloat = increased tuition, student debt, adjunct abuse
Nationwide, tuition and room and board costs at public institutions have increased 42 percent since 2000, while administrative costs have zoomed upward 60 percent. Likewise, the number of administrators on college campuses has grown. By 2008, there were more than twice as many administrators as tenure-track faculty at institutions nationwide.
These statistics have produced a nationwide outcry against the practice, including a Wall Street Journal series on the problems of university systems across the country. It featured a chart detailing how administrative spending boosts college costs.
At the same time as the number of administrators has ballooned, institutions have significantly increased their use of non-tenure-track full-time and poorly paid part-time faculty. UA has the second highest percentage of part-time faculty in Ohio and one of the worst graduation rates in the state at 14 percent.
Less than 40 percent of students nationwide are now taught by tenure or tenure-track professors who earn a wage commensurate with their education and experience. The remaining 60 percent are taught by part-time faculty who make poverty level wages.
Meanwhile, total student debt in the U.S. is approaching $1 trillion, and the average college senior in the U.S. now carries $25,000 in student loan debt at graduation. In Ohio the average is $28,683, seventh-highest in the nation.
Poor pay for the new faculty majority at UA
UA’s approximately 1,500 part-timers make up more than 70 percent of all faculty on campus, receive no benefits and earn about $2,400 per three-credit course. Each of them will earn $9,600 for the 2013-2014 academic year, if they teach six credits per semester. That makes the wages of an adjunct faculty member at UA roughly 50 percent less than that of a fast food worker.
Nationwide, part-time faculty members make an average of $8.90 per hour, despite having earned advanced degrees.
Hours cut to avoid providing health benefits
Always poorly paid, UA adjuncts are in worse shape this academic year. That’s because UA is limiting adjuncts to eight credits per semester to avoid paying health benefits.
However, since most courses at UA are three credits, adjuncts have effectively been cut to six credits per semester or 12 per year.