Amid tougher times spending on payroll soars at michigan universities
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Amid tougher times, spending on payroll soars at Michigan universities. DAVID JESSE DETROIT FREE PRESS.|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE. Michigan Universities.

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Amid tougher times, spending on payroll soars at Michigan universities

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Amid tougher times, spending on payroll soars at Michigan universities


Michigan Universities

  • Michigan universities increased their spending on administrative positions by nearly 30% on average in the last five years, even as university leaders say they've slashed expenses to keep college affordable for families.

  • The number of administrative jobs grew 19% over that period at the state's public universities, according to data submitted by the schools to the state budget office.

  • Meanwhile, faculty compensation went up 22%.


  • The increases took place from the 2005-06 school year through 2009-10 -- a period in which both student enrollment and state funding of universities remained about the same. The higher administrative costs were slightly exceeded by tuition hikes over this period.

  • The schools say the additional $260 million spent on administrators statewide doesn't provide a full picture, and is in many instances justified to recruit and keep top personnel to stay competitive. They add that credit hours are up even if enrollment isn't, meaning more employees are needed.

  • "It's still a small number," Michael Boulus, chief lobbyist for the schools, said of the spending, especially when spread over 15 universities.

  • But critics say the universities are out of step with the sacrifices made in the public and private sector in Michigan during a punishing economy.

Universities Defend

  • After spending 15 minutes earlier this month trying to convince state legislators that the University of Michigan was pinching pennies everywhere -- including on how many flowers it plants on campus -- President Mary Sue Coleman sounded a different tone when talking about employees' salaries.

  • "I am not going to punish people for doing a good job," she testified at a committee hearing. "We want the best and work hard to keep them."

  • Recruiting and rewarding U-M employees led to spending increases, especially among administrators, though officials say some of those costs were reimbursed by research grants. Still, data submitted by U-M show university spending on administrative positions -- including raises and new hires -- grew 27% over the past five years.

Let’s Look Carefully – 1

Let’s Look Carefully – 2

Total Faculty Compensation (TC)

TC = Comp/Person * # of People (1)

Δ (TC) = Δ (Comp/Person) * # + Δ # * (Comp/Person) (2)

Divide (2) by (1):

% Δ TC = % Δ (Comp/Person) + % Δ People


29.9  6.6 + 21.8

Be cautious about what you read! Our salaries did not go up 6% last year

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