Summer Reading: Report on Administrative Bloat in Public Higher Ed in Illinois

Concerns about administration at the College of DuPage led Illinois State Democratic Caucus to initiate an investigation into executive compensation at public higher ed campuses across Illinois. The executive summary reads as follows

In February 2015, Senator Bill Cunningham and the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus requested compensation data and employment contracts for selected administrative positions from all 9 public universities and 46 community colleges in Illinois for 2005-2015. The Senate’s review of this information uncovered:

• Annual compensation totaling $887,244 for one administrator at a public university

• Annuities at community colleges in the amount of $30,000 a year

• Deferred compensation plans in the amount of $75,000 a year

• University- and community college-provided vehicles

• Car and driver service

• Memberships to multiple country clubs and social organizations

• Appointment contracts of over 5 years in length that led to six-figure severance agreements

The report addresses the fact that spending on administration, and expanding revenues at universities from (exorbitant) tuition rates have not translated to spending on instructional resources:

But as colleges and universities have had more money to spend, spending for instructional resources – that is, paying faculty – has not kept pace with the dramatic increase in spending on administrative and staff resources.

And the expanding number of administrators makes no sense in comparison with the growth of students or faculty:

At public universities in Illinois, there was a 31.1% increase in full time administrative staff from 2004 to 2010. During the same period, there was a 1.8% increase in full time faculty, and a 2.3% increase in part time and full time students….To summarize, while tuition and fees have risen exponentially, the corresponding increases in staff is not reflected in increased numbers of faculty, but in increases in the numbers of administrators, both nation-wide and in Illinois.  [emphasis added].

To read the entire report, click here.

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