Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Bloat in Higher Education

Is "administrative bloat" a reason for the rising cost of college? According to an analysis of labor force trends at institutions of higher education, the bloat is real and it could be a factor in rising costs. Administrative positions are growing as a share of total institutional employment, while full-time faculty is shrinking as a share of employment at most types of schools. The analysis defines administrative positions as those that provide student, academic, or professional support such as vice presidents, provosts, financial analysts, human resources staff, computer administrators, lawyers, health care workers, and so on.

The number of full-time faculty per administrator declined at every type of school between 1990 and 2012, according to the analysis. At public four-year schools, the number of full-time faculty per administrator fell from 1.9 in 1990 to 1.1 in 2012. At public community colleges the ratio fell from 2.2 to 1.5. At private four-year colleges the figure fell from 1.3 to 0.8.

In an attempt to cut costs over the years, institutions of higher education have replaced full-time faculty with part-time instructors. Most college teachers today are part-timers. But much of the savings from faculty cuts have been spent on administrators, the report concludes.

Source: American Institutes for Research, Delta Cost Project, Labor Intensive or Labor Expensive?

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