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Rising Student Debt Linked to Higher-Paid University Presidents

Mike Randall 5/11/18

A new report published by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) finds student debt is rising faster at state universities with the highest-paid presidents.

In addition, these schools have higher numbers of low-wage adjunct faculty labor – meaning part-time and contingent instructors.

The report, titled “The One Percent at State U,” is the result of a study looking at the 25 public universities with the highest executive pay when compared to the nationwide four-year university average.

It examined statistics from 2006 through 2012 and found a disproportionate compensation structure for executives at the top 25 schools.

Points of interest:

National student loan debt continues to rise, registering $1.2 trillion in 2012.

    The sharpest rise in student debt levels occurred in schools where executive compensation rose the fastest.

    At state schools with the highest-paid presidents, administrative spending outpaced scholarship spending by more than two to one.

    Part-time adjunct faculty grew 22 percent faster at schools with the highest-paid presidents when compared to the national average (adjunct faculty costs the university far less).

    Executive pay at the top 25 schools increased more than twice as fast as the national average to nearly $1 million on average.

Where does your alma mater’s president rank?

Rank Institution Total Compensation Awarded to Top Executive of Main Campus
FY 06 — FY 12
Average Yearly Total Compensation in 2012 dollars
FY 06 — FY 12
1 Ohio State University $10,223,733 $1,533,286
2 Pennsylvania State University $7,658,372 $1,134,067
3 University of Delaware* $7,083,950 $1,089,663
4 Auburn University $6,237,411 $925,941
5 University of Virginia $5,774,436 $873,488
6 University of Michigan $5,659,043 $858,333
7 George Mason University** $5,636,489 $844,265
8 University of Washington $5,404,009 $821,315
9 Virginia Tech $5,004,070 $758,098
10 University of Texas $4,733,280 $716,644
11 University of Central Florida** $4,712,161 $714,369
12 University of Minnesota $4,425,889 $669,874
13 Arizona State University $4,382,001 $664,503
14 University of Florida $4,327,277 $656,238
15 Temple University $4,302,599 $651,943
16 Washington state University $4,301,950 $652,655
17 Rutgers University $4,289,298 $653,821
18 University of Kentucky $4,284,203 $647,349
19 University of Houston $4,273,040 $648,216
20 Georgia State University $4,199,291 $641,036
21 Pittsburgh University $4,136,562 $628,210
22 Georgia Institute of Technology $4,116,997 $625,918
23 University of Georgia $4,088,151 $620,958
24 University of Connecticut $3,925,372 $595,586
25 Florida State University $3,694,233 $561,876

According to The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS), student loan debt reached $1.2 trillion in 2012, overtaking total credit card debt for the first time in history.

And with part-time adjunct faculty at universities making an average annual wage of just more than $22,000 per year, we know the increasing costs aren’t going to them.

So one has to ask — are university professors worth the salaries they receive?

*FY 2009 compensation was unreported. Total compensation for FY 06 – FY 12 reflects an FY 09 estimate based on the yearly average of total compensation reported for Patrick Harker in FY 08, FY 10, FY 11, and FY 12.

**FY 2006 compensation was unreported. Total compensation for FY 06 — FY 12 reflects an FY 06 estimate based on average of 23 other top 25 compensation figures for FY 06. Given subsequent year totals at this institution, the FY 06 — FY 12 total is likely an underestimate.

Photo credits: Flickr/Backbone Campaign; credit.com

About Mike Randall
Mike Randall is most knowledgeable in the areas of credit scores and credit cards, having written on those topics and others for the past eight years. He graduated from California State University with a degree in English literature, and he has an extensive background in personal finance studies. When he's not keeping BadCredit.org readers informed of changes in the subprime market, Mike’s hobbies include sailing and gourmet cooking. Connect with Mike on Google+.
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