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Study: Penn State Is Second-Most Unequal Public University In Executive Payment vs. Student Debt

by and on May 20, 2014 6:00 AM

A study from the Institute for Policy Studies has found that Penn State is the second-most unequal public university in America based on six categories regarding executive payment, faculty employment and student debt.

The study, titled “The One Percent at State U,” focused on “what happened to student debt and faculty labor at the top 25 public universities with the highest executive pay” from fall 2005 to summer 2012.

It found that executive pay at those universities has increased more than national averages since the 2008 financial crisis. It also found that low-wage faculty labor and student debt increased at a faster pace over the same time frame. Overall, the universities’ administrative expenditures doubled their scholarship spending.

Penn State was second to only Ohio State, and was respectively trailed by Minnesota, Michigan and Washington — a poor showing for the Big Ten. 

To determine its rankings, the study measured the universities’ placement in total executive payment from 2005-12; total executive compensation from 2010-12; percent increase of all part-time and contingent faculty from 2005-12; percent increase in adjunct faculty from 2010-12; percent increase or decrease in adjunct faculty from 2005-12; and percent increase in student debt in 2005-12 and in 2010-12.

It noted the following under Penn State in the rankings:

In [fiscal year] 2012, Penn State’s Board of Trustees awarded $2.9 million in salary and severance pay to Graham Spanier – who was terminated “without cause” for his handling of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. From [fiscal year] 2006 to [fiscal year] 2012, the Board approved another $4.8 million in executive compensation while average student debt on campus grew by 49% to $35,100. During the same period, non-academic administrative staff increased by 224 while permanent faculty grew by only 32.

Penn State was also mentioned for its payment to Eric Barron, who will receive more than $1 million in total compensation this year. Penn State justified the payment, saying it was “competitive and reasonable,” according to the report, but it calls such justifications “spurious at best” — the top 25 universities’ presidents had compensation more than double that of the average university.

You can read the entire report below:

IPS the One Percent at State U May 2014



This post was originally published by the staff at Onward State. Follow Onward State on Twitter @OnwardState


Gilbert is the Managing Editor of Onward State.
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