April 13, 2002

Faculty Pay Is Up 3.8%, the Most in 11 Years


Faculty salaries at the nation's colleges and universities rose 3.8 percent in the current academic year to an average of $62,895, the largest increase in 11 years, the American Association of University Professors reported yesterday.

The association's report predicts that the increase in faculty salary will be smaller in 2002-03 because of the economic downturn that peaked after the events of Sept. 11. The sagging economy did not dent the current raises because they were set at the end of the last school year.

The report showed sharp differences in pay among the nation's academic institutions, with research universities and the most selective colleges paying professors far more than colleges that focus on drawing students from their regions.

At the nation's top universities, the average salary for a full professor ranged from $100,000 to more than $140,000, the report said.

Full professors at Harvard University, the best paid in the nation, make almost $145,000 on average, while those at Yale and Stanford average around $131,000.

At the nation's less selective colleges and universities, the annual salaries for full professors average less than $40,000 a year.

At McPherson College in Kansas, for example, full professors average $39,100 a year; at Tennessee Wesleyan College, the figure is $37,700.

As university and college trustees meet now through June to set budgets for next year, the recession is expected to crimp salary increases. The endowments of many colleges and universities shrank last year, and tuition increases for private institutions are expected to be greater in 2002-03 than in recent years.

At the same time, public universities will receive less from state governments next school year because of dwindling state revenues. Many state universities have raised tuition more than 10 percent to offset the declining state aid.

"Tuition increases in the public sector are not enough to make up for the cuts in state aid," said Dr. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, an economics professor and director of the Cornell University Higher Education Research Institute.

Private colleges and universities will fare better than the public ones, Dr. Ehrenberg predicted, because their endowments, some substantial, will provide a cushion against the downturn.

"I fully expect that faculty in the public institutions will lose ground to faculty of the private institutions," Dr. Ehrenberg said.

Since inflation between December 2000 and December 2001 was 1.6 percent, the report said, the real faculty salary increases this year, adjusted for inflation, averaged 2.2 percent, the largest jump since the mid-1980's.

Despite the increases, though, the income of professors lags behind those of other professions that require similar educations, the report found. On average, doctors earn 70 percent more; lawyers, roughly 50 percent more; and engineers, about 30 percent more, it said.

Among faculty ranks, assistant professors got the biggest raises, 4.8 percent, the report said. That compares with 4.2 percent for full professors and 3.8 percent for associate professors. The gap between the pay of faculty women and their male counterparts continued, the report said, with male full professors averaging $85,437 and similar women, $75,425.

The report was based on a survey of 1,433 schools. It does not include salary figures for medical professors, typically much better paid.

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