Friday, May 25, 2012

20 Telling Stats on the State of Academic Pay

In January of this year Vice President Biden riled many in academia by saying “salaries for college professors have escalated significantly.” As is typical of election-year rhetoric, it was a statement that sounds true and offers an easy scapegoat (for the problem of skyrocketing college tuition), but it’s not one grounded in fact. There is plenty of data available that can shed light on the situation if we take the time to look. These telling facts reveal that in this economy, professors are suffering like everyone else.

  1. Full-time faculty salaries rose 1.8% on average:

    The average professor salary for full-time teachers hit $82,500 in 2011-2012. However, this 1.8% growth rate was comes with an inflation rate of 3% over the same period, meaning salaries actually fell 1.2% on average across ranks.

  2. The gap in pay between presidents and professors at private schools is growing:

    A president of a private college typically earns 3.7 times the average pay and benefits of a full prof at the same school. Presidents at the low end of the spectrum earn twice what a professor does, while at the high end presidents earn as much as 16 times what professors do.

  3. Pay is rising twice as fast at private colleges than at public ones:

    Even with the president-professor salary divide, it’s still far more profitable to teach at a private university than a public one. The median salary increased at private institutions at twice the rate as that at public colleges, 2.3% as opposed to 1.1%.

  4. Adjunct professors are having to go on food stamps:

    The money woes of adjunct professors are a very telling sign that there is a crisis in higher education pay. The average of $2,500 per course that adjuncts receive has resulted in a yearly salary so low, many are having to go on welfare to survive.

  5. There is an adjunct emergency fund:

    Advocates for higher adjunct pay have launched a number of programs to assist these teachers who are sometimes paid as little as $700 per course taught. There is Junct Rebellion’s Adjunct Emergency Fund, and Josh Boldt’s The Adjunct Project, created to raise awareness of colleges’ treatment of faculty, both good and bad.

  6. Less than one-third of university faculty members are on the tenure track:

    As of 2007, the number of college faculty on the tenure track (with its valuable job security) was less than 33%. In 1975, the number was more than half. Contingent and adjunct professors are now the majority of higher ed teachers.

  7. Academics make $6,054 a month before taxes on average:

    A recent story by the UK’s Times Higher Education bemoaned the fact that the average monthly teacher earnings of $5,943 isn’t enough to attract “top talent.” At just $111 more per month, American academics don’t fare much better, and the talent worries are also a concern.

  8. Part-time faculty members’ ranks have grown 280% since 1975:

    According to research by the American Association of University Professors, the number of non-tenured faculty grew by 6% between 2007 and 2009. In that same period, tenure appointments grew by just 0.3%. Low-paid grad students and contingent employees now make up 75% of all college faculty.

  9. Public university salaries in the South shrank an average of .8% when adjusted for inflation:

    Academics at public schools in the American South (16 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico) have been the hardest hit recently. Professors lost anywhere from 0.2% to 1.6% in inflation-adjusted wages from 2007-2008 to 2010-2011.

  10. Administrator pay is up 2%:

    The 2% increase in pay that senior administrators saw in 2011 may not seem like much, but it’s better than the 1.8% raises professors got. And salaries for administrators in athletics rose the most, by 2.3%, another telling statistic.

  11. A quarter of professors ages 50-70 expect to retire later than planned:

    A 2009 survey by financial services company TIAA-CREF found that nearly 25% of professors expected to have to delay retirement by an average of three years due to low wages. Professors in their 70s and 80s are now common sights on college campuses, some due to a love of teaching but many due to necessity.

  12. Pay for education majors has remained comparatively low for 30 years:

    Professor pay figures say much about the priorities of the country and what areas of instruction are in demand. While, for example, the gap in salaries for business administration profs and fine arts teachers has more than tripled since 1980, education has remained at almost the exact same, low-paid rate over that entire period.

  13. Instructors make $47,847 on average:

    Although the average pay for full-time profs is well into the six figures, college instructors barely earn a living wage. As The Washington Post points out, the $47,847 they make on average is less than the pay for tool and die makers and executive secretaries.

  14. Medical professor pay is up 2.9%:

    A recent report by the Association of American Medical Colleges showed doctors working as faculty at medical schools in the U.S. made an average of $262,400 in total pay in 2011. However, this amount is still considerably behind the average pay of a doctor with six years’ experience of $307,000.

  15. Tuition has been rising faster than faculty salaries since the ’80s:

    There is strong evidence to favor professors’ argument that they are not to blame for the increases in tuition. For instance, in the last 10 years, tuition increased 72% at public, four-year schools, while faculty salaries increased a max of 7.7%.

  16. Median presidential salaries grew by 9.8%:

    It’s not just private school presidents that are doing well. When adjusted for inflation, salaries for presidents across the board rose nearly 10% from 2006-2007 to 2010-2011, causing some to call for presidents to make sacrifices, as much of the rest of academia has had to do.

  17. The gender gap in academic pay persists:

    Even when factors like relative productivity and the longer careers of male professors are factored in, the recession seems to have had no impact on the gap between pay for male and female academics. Women continue to earn an average of 6.9% less than men with equal skills.

  18. Newly-hired full professors in the U.S. average $7,358 in pay per month:

    The $7,300 new college professors are paid in the U.S. on average puts the country behind South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia for spending. While these are the most surprising countries to pay more, we also trail Italy, Britain, Australia, and India.

  19. Professor salary increases are trending downward over 30 years:

    In the ’80s, professor salaries rose 14%, adjusted for inflation. In the ’90s the growth rate fell to 5%, and they fell to 4% by the 2009-2010 school year. It may seem like the growth is finally hitting an appropriate level, but 4% could be too low for colleges to secure excellent teachers.

  20. Fringe benefits have gone way up:

    Professors’ total compensation factors in fringe benefits, like dental plans or life insurance. Although these have a dollar value, they don’t constitute income for professors. And since 1980, fringe benefits (adjusted for inflation) have increased 82% on average.

Taken From Best Colleges Online

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