Student Debt Rises at Alarming Rate at Universities with Highest-Paid Presidents, Study


Student debt is increasing at an alarming rate at universities with highest-paid presidents, according to a new study by the Institute for Policy Studies.

The study, "The One Percent at State U: How University Presidents Profit from Rising Student Debt and Low-Wage Faculty Labor," found that both student debt and the concentration of adjunct faculty has grown at a faster rate from 2005 to 2012 at 25 public universities (see the list below) with the highest-paid presidents.

For the study, researchers analyzed factors like executive pay, rising student debt, administrative expenditures and low-salaried faculty members at 25 top-paying public universities.

The researchers found that administrative expenditures were double the amount spent on scholarships. Plus, there was large percentage of adjunct faculty members at the 25 universities and the portion of permanent faculty decreased severely.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, presidents at the highest-paying universities received good compensation - mainly at the cost of students and faculty. The average executive compensation at public research universities rose by 14 percent from 2009 to 2012 - $544,554. During the same period, the compensation for the leaders of the highest-paying universities increased by a third, from $727,002 to $974,006.

"Like executives in the corporate and banking sectors, public university presidents weathered the immediate aftermath of the fall 2008 financial crisis with minimal or no reductions in total compensation," the report said.

Based on the analysis, the researchers listed out the top five public universities where the issue was most prominent. Ohio State University, ranked No.1 on the list, paid former president E. Gordon Gee a total of $5.9 million, recruited 670 new administrators, 498 contingent and part-time faculty, and just 45 permanent faculty members from 2010 to 2012 fiscal year. During the same period the student debt at the university grew 23 percent faster than the national average.

Ohio State is then followed by Pennsylvania State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Michigan and the University of Washington.

"The high executive pay obviously isn't the direct cause of higher student debt, or cuts in labor spending," Co-author Marjorie Wood said. "But if you think about it in terms of the allocation of resources, it does seem to be the tip of a very large iceberg, with universities that have top-heavy executive spending also having more adjuncts, more tuition increases and more administrative spending," NY Times reports.

Top 25 Universities with highest executive pay:

1.       Ohio State University

2.       Pennsylvania State University

3.       University of Delaware*

4.       Auburn University

5.       University of Virginia

6.       University of Michigan

7.       George Mason University**

8.       University of Washington

9.       Virginia Tech

10.    University of Texas

11.    University of Central Florida**

12.    University of Minnesota

13.    Arizona State University

14.    University of Florida

15.    Temple University

16.    Washington State University

17.    Rutgers University

18.    University of Kentucky

19.    University of Houston

20.    Georgia State University

21.    Pittsburgh University

22.    Georgia Institute of Technology

23.    University of Georgia

24.    University of Connecticut

25.    Florida State University

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