Across U.S. higher education, nonclassroom costs have ballooned, administrative payrolls being a prime example. The number of employees hired by colleges and universities to manage or administer people, programs and regulations increased 50% faster than the number of instructors between 2001 and 2011, the U.S. Department of Education says. It's part of the reason that tuition, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, has risen even faster than health-care costs.More administrators, higher-paid administrators, and higher tuition for students even as investment in classroom teaching lags. This trend is especially pronounced at the University of Minnesota:
A Wall Street Journal analysis of University of Minnesota salary and employment records from 2001 through last spring shows that the system added more than 1,000 administrators over that period. Their ranks grew 37%, more than twice as fast as the teaching corps and nearly twice as fast as the student body. [...]The Wall Street Journal notes that some of the growing administrative costs are for things like managing accommodations for students with disabilities. But then again, the University of Minnesota also has 139 people in promotions, marketing, and communications departments. And university president pay across the nation has soared in recent years. And schools like the University of Massachusetts and many others are putting millions of dollars into having losing teams in the top tier of college football instead of winning ones in lower tiers. Similarly, university administrators insist that ever-fancier buildings are needed to attract students, putting students in debt for those nice buildings.
Administrative employees make up an increasing share of the university's higher-paid people. The school employs 353 people earning more than $200,000 a year. That is up 57% from the inflation-adjusted pay equivalent in 2001. Among this $200,000-plus group, 81 today have administrative titles, versus 39 in 2001.
Administrators making over $300,000 in inflation-adjusted terms rose to 17 from seven.
It seems like everything on college campuses but the teaching is worth pouring money into, according to the (increasing numbers of) college administrators of today, at whatever cost to the students whose adult lives will be defined by their tens of thousands of dollars in debt.