Higher education still faces financial inequality

Faculty salaries of Cabrini instructors with masters degrees and assistant professors with Ph.D.s are often less than the starting salaries of some of their students who will graduate in three weeks.

The American Association of University Professors released its annual report on the economic status of professors and administrators. The report showcased that financial inequality in higher education is still growing even though for this past year inflation went down and the faculty salaries increased a bit.

The AAUP released the report on April 12. The annual report covered the widening gap between presidents and faculty member’s salaries. The report gives faculty salary averages for all colleges including Cabrini. Also, the report discussed the potential negative consequences for higher education if the inequalities continue to expand according to the AAUP.

The average salary of instructors at Cabrini is $36,500. Assistant professors at Cabrini average $47,800, associate professors $58,100, and professors $72,800.

Universities and colleges are divided into sections based on the size of the student-body, whether they offer Ph.D. and masters programs and other factors. Dr. Phillip Matilsky, assistant professor of education, explained that Cabrini College is in the tier IIB division and it could be compared to Ursinus College since it falls within the same division. Yet, schools such as Lehigh University or Lafayette University are in the next tier, IIA. Also, Cabrini’s goal is to be in the second quintile of IIB colleges, which would entail that salaries would become more competitive, according to Matilsky. Cabrini is currently in the third quintile. In the second quintile is a college like Holy Family, where professors average $3,000 more than at Cabrini, associate professors $2,000 more, assistant professors $6,000 more, and instructors $11,000 more.

Matilsky said, “I think that is not only a goal of faculty but I think for the administration.”

Faculty explained that it is hard to get highly qualified new assistant professors if he or she can go to another college nearby and make thousands more.

Matilsky said, “This gap is a national problem because in order to get good people at a college teaching, you have to have a competitive salary and benefits package to attract qualified professors.”

Also, the 2006-2007 annual report showed that escalating salaries for college and university presidents continues to separate them from the faculty and staff employees. The gap is seen to be widening in the annual reports as presidents receive salaries that are three times those paid to senior faculty members.

Then Matilsky continued by saying, “I don’t think there is a professor out there that would not like to see more parity between presidents and professors.”

According to the AAUP’s annual report, the average faculty salaries rose 3.8 percent between 2005-2006 and 2006-2007. The annual inflation was also discovered to be at 2.5 percent and there has been an increase in average salary since the 2003-2004 annual report.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, president Antoinette Iadarola, received a total compensation of $290,431 for the 2004-2005 academic year. Iadarola’s compensation was broken down into her pay for the 2004-2005 academic year of $179,505 and her benefits of $110, 926. In comparison, Ursinus College’s president, John Strassburger received a full compensation of $282,940 for the 2004-2005 academic year while Drexel University’s president, Constantine Papadakis, received a full compensation of $886, 279.

Matilsky said, “I think I can be objective because I’ve been a teacher, administrator and a member of the school board so I have seen it from many sides so I would not berate or belie what a president makes because it is a tough job.”

Dr. Anthony Tomasco, professor of psychology, agrees with Matilsky. Tomasco said, “Against the bench marks that are set, there is nothing unjust about president to faculty salary differences.”

According to the AAUP, the compensation represents salary plus institutional contribution to benefits. It is an approximate figure for the institution, rather than an amount received by the faculty member.

Tomasco said, “If you compare the education model to the corporate model and you will see that people at the top get more money and I think we have to argue deservedly so. In corporate world it is more exaggerated. I don’t think it’s nearly that bad in education.”

Elizabeth Brachelli and Nicole

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