Delta Blues

Blues manThe Delta Cost Project has a new report on staffing and compensation in higher education in the USA. Data is mainly for the period of 2000 to 2012. Some highlights:

  • On most college campuses, the majority of workers are not teaching students.
  • Compensation of non-instructional student services staff was the fastest growing salary expense at many types of institutions.
  • The average number of faculty and staff per administrator has been declining since 1990 and now averages 2.5 or fewer faculty and staff per administrator.
  • Community colleges have seen the largest reductions in the number of faculty — both full- and part-time — per student.
  • Part-time faculty now compose at least half of instructional staff, and part-time hires are replacing full-time faculty positions.
  • In 2012, less than half of full-time instructional staff at public and private four-year institutions held tenure.
  • Average salaries of full-time faculty were flat from 2002 to 2010.

Here is what for me is the report’s most interesting finding: “as colleges have hired additional professional staff, they have eliminated much of the cost savings from using part-time instructors” (page 22).

One program that generates huge non-instructional staffing and other costs for many universities? Athletics. As this Delta Cost Project report from a year ago points out, students who participate in intercollegiate athletics are much more heavily subsidized than other students by the institutions at which they are enrolled. At the vast majority of schools, athletics is a net drain on financial resources.