By: Ryan Brady
The CCAP has recently begun to take a close look at the relationship between tuition paid by students and the percentage of this tuition that ends up in the pockets of their Instructors. What we have found is that, unlike the days of Socrates, much of this money is quickly absorbed by universities to support non-instructional spending.
Using data provided by the Delta Cost Project, I calculated the instructional salaries as a percentage of tuition for the 610 schools included in the 2010 Forbes ranking of American colleges and universities. Public and private universities were considered separately. The average ratio of tuition payments to faculty salaries for public universities was 71%. As expected, since private universities receive very little state support, and rather rely on much higher tuition charges for their funding, the average ratio for private universities was a much lower 29%.
It is important to note that there is some variation within both categories. Some schools do a much better job than the rest at directing tuition dollars to instruction. For the public schools, UCLA, University of Alabama at Birmingham and UNC at Chapel Hill perform the best with ratios of 158%, 157% and 154% respectively. Within the private school category, Yale University is at the top with a ratio of 159%. Behind Yale are the California Institute of Technology and Washington University in St. Louis at 145% and 135%.
On the flip side, within each category, some do very poorly. Here is a list of the 5 public and private universities with the lowest ratio of tuition payments to faculty salaries:
Miami University- Oxford (24.26%)
Coastal Carolina University (33.14%)
University of Vermont (33.53%)
Fort Lewis College (33.73%)
Troy University (35.12%)
Emerson College (13.25%)
College of the Atlantic (13.65%)
Colby-Sawyer College (13.67%)
Carroll College (14.09%)
Elmira College (14.50%)
With schools such as Miami using less than 25% of their tuition payments on instruction, it becomes apparent how much money is diverted from the primary mission of our universities—student instruction. As tuition and fees continue to climb, the ideal of a college education is beyond the reach of many American families. It is important that we reform higher education to reduce excessive spending on non-instructional dimensions of higher education in an effort to reduce costs to students and taxpayers.