Last week we highlighted a study showing that university administrative positions rose 28 percent in the last decade, but a new study from the NECIR suggests that the problem is even worse.
Over the last 25 years the number of administrative employees at U.S. colleges and universities more than doubled, according to a joint study by the New England Center of Investigative Reporting and the American Institutes for Research. The ratio of nonacademic positions to faculty positions doubled at both public and private institutions. Overall, the industry has added an average of 87 administrative positions per day, a rate has scarcely slowed since the economic downturn, despite tuition increases. Even more surprising, academic institutions have added more administrative employees despite part-time faculty taking on more teaching duties than full-time professors.Some analysts are critical of colleges’ spending on administrative growth, regardless of their cost-cutting efforts:
“There’s just a mind-boggling amount of money per student that’s being spent on administration,” said Andrew Gillen, a senior researcher at the institutes. “It raises a question of priorities.”“It’s a lie. It’s a lie. It’s a lie,” said Richard Vedder, an economist and director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. “I wouldn’t buy a used car from a university president,” said Vedder. “They’ll say, ‘We’re making moves to cut costs,’ and mention something about energy-efficient lightbulbs, and ignore the new assistant to the assistant to the associate vice provost they just hired.”
Administrative hiring shouldn’t come at the cost of delivering quality, cost-effective college educations. The more evidence we see, the worse the problem looks.