Student Debt Report Captures National Attention

Crushing College Dreams

Indentured Student (DonkeyHotey/Flickr)

IPS’ recent report, “The One Percent at State U” examines the 25 state universities that paid out the most in executive compensation from 2005 to 2012, and found that executive pay at these schools reached an average of nearly $1 million by 2012 while student debt and low-wage faculty rose much faster than national averages.

Since release, the report has garnered significant attention in prominent national media outlets. Coverage has included articles in The New York Times, TIME, CBS Moneywatch, and Bloomberg, and was also featured in Gawker and The Nation.

“Why should students and faculty — and everyone who cares about them — pay close attention to the upward spiral of such salaries?” asked report authors Marjorie Wood and Andrew Erwin in their Los Angeles Times op-ed. “Because according to our research, these highest-paid presidents are more likely to preside over public universities where student debt is growing fastest and the number of full-time faculty is shrinking.”

The report also resulted in a New York Times editorial on May 23, 2014. Using the report’s findings, the Editorial Board concluded: “Confronted with punishing state budget cuts, the public colleges and universities that educate more than 70 percent of this country’s students have raised tuition, shrunk course offerings and hired miserably paid, part-time instructors who now form what amounts to a new underclass in the academic hierarchy. At the same time, some of those colleges and universities are spending much too freely on their top administrators.”

The report and an infographic of its findings have also become important resources to organizations working to eliminate inequality in higher education institutions, including SEIU’s Adjunct Action Campaign, the New Faculty Majority, the Lecturers’ Employee Organization, Jobs with Justice, and the Student Labor Action Project.

For more information, or to read the full report, visit “The One Percent at State U.”