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Colleges Balancing Books on Backs of Part-Time Faculty, Out-of-State Students

Washington, DC—The AAUP released its annual faculty compensation survey report, available here. The report, based on the largest faculty compensation survey in the United States, includes comparisons by rank and information on gender-based disparity, administrative pay, regional variation, and part-time faculty. The report also examines the degree to which colleges and universities have been balancing their books on the backs of part-time faculty and out-of-state students.

Part-Time Faculty Still Struggling as Presidential Salaries Grow
Faculty on part-time appointments continue to make up the largest share of the academic labor force, and the percentage of faculty jobs that are part time continued to trend higher. The average annual total pay for a part-time faculty member at a single institution was just over $20,000, and average total pay from a single institution for faculty teaching on a per-section basis was just over $7,000. Administrative pay continues to outpace faculty pay. Presidential pay increased an average of 4.3 percent overall and presidents now earn more than three-and-a-half times as much as those at public doctoral institutions. Average salaries for full-time, ranked professors rose 0.5 percent after adjusting for inflation. Gender-based pay disparities continue with female full professors in 2016-2017 earning 94.3 percent of what male full professors earned.

State Appropriations for Public Higher Education Remain Below Prerecession Levels Overall

As the economy recovers from the Great Recession, progress toward restoring funding for public higher education through state appropriations remains uneven. Efforts to restore funding have varied widely by state, but states under Democratic control have generally fared better than states under Republican control.

Out-of-State Students Increasingly Subsidize State Schools

Institutions have attempted to offset losses in state appropriations by enrolling more out-of-state students, including international students, and increasing out-of-state tuition. The average differential between in-state and out-of-state tuition is nearly $10,000. Public institutions risk “mission drift” as their increasing reliance on out-of-state tuition dollars detracts from the long-standing emphasis on the benefits of university teaching and research for state residents. In addition, given reports of declining international interest in attending US institutions because of Trump administration travel policies, it is unlikely that this practice will remain economically viable.


The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) champions academic freedom; advances shared governance; and promotes economic security for all who teach and research in higher education. Since 1915, the AAUP has shaped American higher education by developing standards that uphold quality education and ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good.

Media Contact: 
Laura Markwardt – 202-594-3635/ [email protected]
Publication Date: 
Tuesday, April 11, 2017