Why is College So Expensive? It is not Faculty Salaries.

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

Student debt and tuition cost have skyrocketed in recent years; however, college professors are still being paid a small/lesser amount overall. Considering the amount of work and hours that any teacher puts into their job, teacher salaries do not account for the rise in students’ rising tuitions.

The overall institutional integrity of higher education is rapidly eroding. As Michelle Chen reports, “Between 2004 and 2013, the number of faculty teaching full-time or the equivalent ticked up 8 percent, but the population of full-time-equivalent students simultaneously jumped by 20 percent.” This shows how there is a small increase in teaching faculty, but a large increase in student population.

Twenty-five years ago, a student attending a public college would see twice as many faculty as administrators on average; however, now the ratio is almost equal. In 2013, about 20 percent of the teaching workforce were permanent or tenure track, while about half worked part-time and often doing temporary gigs at different institutions. At the same time, the number of administrators has increased.

Teachers are still going to teach no matter what. They enjoy what they do and are very good at it. A lot of teachers and professors sacrifice their time and dedicate it to education. Increases in the numbers of students place higher demands on faculty, often for less pay.

Source: Michelle Chen, “Why is College So Expensive if Professors Are Paid So Little?” The Nation, September 21, 2015, http://www.thenation.com/article/why-is-college-so-expensive-if-professors-are-paid-so-little/.

Student Researcher: Jeffrey Tran (Sonoma State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Suzel Bozada-Deas (Sonoma State University)