At state universities with the highest-paid presidents, the levels of student debt and number of adjuncts employed have increased far more rapidly than at the average state university (during the years 2005 to 2012), according to a study covered by the NYT. These schools also suffer from administrative bloat, spending more than twice as much on administrative expenses as they do on scholarship. The NYT:
Administrative expenditures at the highest-paying universities outpaced spending on scholarships by more than two to one. And while adjunct faculty members became more numerous at the 25 universities, the share of permanent faculty declined drastically.
“The high executive pay obviously isn’t the direct cause of higher student debt, or cuts in labor spending,” Ms. 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.”
Ohio State University leads the pack, which also includes Penn State, University of Michigan, and University of Washington.
It’s spending patterns like these that give the higher education establishment a bad rap, and no wonder. This story is yet another indication that universities see themselves as corporations or sports franchises that market an academic product on the side. If we’re to have any chance at improving the system, that attitude has got to go.