New CFO Should Invest Responsibly

The Daily Trojan weighs in on USC’s new CFO, and the need to invest in the workers and faculty who make our university great:
“As the University grows in reputation as a top-ranked research university, students and University workers alike have consistently challenged its stance on socially responsible growth. In June, the removal of the University’s employees’ $30 per month reduced-price transit passes caused public media blowback and made employees’ daily lives more difficult. The proposed re-development of the University Village raised further concerns over gentrification in the local community. The recent rally by subcontracted USC janitors protesting contractor Aramark’s lack of raises and unfair work conditions have made issues with employment plain. A litany of protests by non-tenured faculty demanding higher wages and a right to unionize further question USC’s growth.
As new administrators like Provost Michael Quick and Staten determine the course of the University, responses to worker rights have consistently denied more negotiating power to those who serve the foundation of our University. As Staten becomes a new voice which profoundly influences University financial decisions, he should focus on expanding services for University workers and listening to student voices on socially responsible investments.”
Read the whole thing here.

USG Introduces Resolution on College Tuition

In an effort to increase transparency and lower tuition costs, members of USG introduced a resolution on college affordability last night. From the Daily Trojan:
“The resolution presentation began with the results of a college affordability survey conducted a few months ago. The results gathered 1,903 responses over a period of three weeks and showed considerable majorities.
Eighty-four percent of respondents believed that a tuition freeze would alleviate the financial burden for students. Seventy-six percent knew of someone who had transferred from or considered taking a leave of absence from USC due to high tuition costs. Ninety-eight percent did not know the reason for the 2015-2016 $2,000 tuition increase. Ninety-three percent did not know where their tuition dollars went.”
Wonder where tuition dollars are going? Probably not where you think.

Tracking the Money: Where Do Your Tuition Dollars Go?

From Annenberg TV News:

“USC collected $1.3 billion in tuition money in 2014, 65% of its total revenue. Most of that money went to employee compensation. 63% of expenses, some $1.2 billion, were employement-related, including salary, bonuses and health care. 
Still, some employees are getting paid more than others. President Nikias makes almost $1.6 million a year. Athletic director Pat Haden made $2.5 million in 2013.” 
ICYMI: Non-tenure track faculty make an average of $5,044 per course.
Read the whole article here.

Protesters Ask USC: What Are We Paying For?

From Annenberg TV News:

“Members of USC Forward, a group of students, faculty and community members fighting for “a better USC”, gathered outside Bovard Auditorium on USC’s campus today to protest tuition hikes and low wages for USC faculty.
About 200 protesters participated in the march. They handed out flyers with the headline “WTF are we paying for?”
Faculty members who were present stressed that while executive compensation has “skyrocketed,” faculty wages continue to remain stagnant.”

Outside of USC, Pat Haden Holds More Than a Dozen Roles That Pay at Least a Half-Million Dollars a Year

The LA Times reports:
“Haden, whose annual salary and benefit package at USC is $2.5 million, collected about $135,000 combined in annual fees from four charitable foundations, according to the most recent Internal Revenue Service filings for the school and the nonprofits.
Most foundations and other types of charities do not pay their board members, nonprofit watchdogs said, expecting them to volunteer their time. Asked why he accepted fees from the organizations, Haden said through a USC spokesman that the other directors for the four foundations also are paid.”
That’s a lot of money.
ICYMI, many of our professors are barely making ends meet.

Teaching While Poor: Adjunct Professors and the Fight for Fair Wages

From The Nation, amazing video chronicling the fight for fair wages in higher education:
If there’s one area that isn’t contributing to our historic levels of student debt, it’s adjunct professor’s pay. More than half of all college professors in the United States are adjuncts, working only “part-time.” One in three of them lives near or below the poverty line, and one in four is on some form of public assistance. The average salary for an adjunct professor is just $22,500. University and college presidents make an average of 18 times more than that.”
For more on the president-to-faculty pay ratio at USC click here. (Hint: it’s worse than you think.)
Make sure to check out the full video over at The Nation.

A Multigenerational Hit: Student Debt Traps Parents and Kids

From the AP’s Josh Boak, more on rising student debt loads and the long term effects on families:
“America’s crushing surge of student debt, now at $1.2 trillion, has bred a disturbing new phenomenon: School loans that span multiple generations within families. Weighed down by their own loans, many parents lack the means to fund their children’s educations without sinking even deeper into debt.” 
USC is no exception. The average borrower is now looking at $28,474 in undergraduate student debt upon graduation.1

Among all universities in the country, USC is ranked 5th in graduate student loan debt. That’s $460 million of debt to USC graduate students in 2013-2014.2

Read the whole article here.

1 SOURCE: College Insight indicates USC’s graduates average $28,474 in debt upon graduation:
2 SOURCE: Center for American Progress Analysis of U.S. Department of Education Data:

Houses, Cars, and Massive Bonuses: The Perks of Being a University Executive

Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked quite a bit about the rising cost of tuition here at USC. We’ve also discussed how that money might not be going to the places you think. Like the classroom.
As the price of tuition continues to climb, USC has driven down the cost of instruction by hiring the majority of our faculty into temporary, contingent positionsoffering low pay and no job security.
At the same time, executive compensation at USC has skyrocketed. Take a look:
As The Atlantic recently pointed out, the income disparities between university faculty and administrators are “an important indication of a given higher-education institution’s fiscal priorities”. We couldn’t agree more.
The widening wage gap between faculty and administrators is troubling, to say the least. But the millions in executive compensation are just the beginning.
Just check out all the perks:
USC provides President Nikias with a private car and driver.2
Allows President Nikias to live in a $2.3 million dollar, 12,000 square foot mansion rent-free.3
USC paid out over $2.6 million in executive bonuses in CY 2013.4 That’s a 54% increase since 2009.
USC pays for health and social club memberships for Nikias and other top executives.5
USC pays for personal financial planning services for top executives.6
USC made an estimated $7.5 million in home loans to top executives between 2009 and 2014.7
Tuition is rising.
Faculty are struggling.
USC executives are doing better than ever.

1. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Title IV participating institutions: Public, 2 year and 4 year and above; Private, not-for-profit, 4 year and above; For-profit, 2 year and 4 year and above. Institution employees (excluding medical school)- all staff with faculty status that are Tenured, On Tenure Track or Not on Tenure Track/No Tenure System, Fall 2013 and Fall 2003. Contingent refers to all employees with faculty status Not on Tenure Track/Tenure System.
2. University of Southern California FY 2014 IRS form 990 received by request from the institution.
3. University of Southern California FY 2014 IRS form 990 received via request from institution and LA County Assessor records for 1550 Oak Grove, San Marino, CA.
4. University of Southern California FY 2014 IRS form 990 received by request of the instituion and University of Southern California FY 2014 IRS form 990 received by request from institution
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. University of Southern California FY 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009 IRS 990 forms. 2009. 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 990s retrieved from on 1/27/15. 2014 990 received by request from the institution.

The Corporatization of Higher Education: With a System That Caters to the 1 Percent, Students and Faculty Get Screwed

Fed up with a higher education system that prioritizes profits above all else, students and faculty are fighting back against exploitation in universities across the country. From Salon:
“Per-course pay for adjunct faculty averages around $2,800. Three courses is typically considered full-time. Trevithick is teaching six. At the average rate, if he did that in both spring and fall — the equivalent of working 80 hours a week, 10 months of the year — he’d make less than $34,000 pre-tax. And that’s at the high end: According to a 2014 congressional report, the median salary for an adjunct was $22,041. 
This exploitation of low-wage faculty is part of what’s known as the corporatization of higher education. Increasingly, both public and private colleges are being run on the cost-cutting model of American business. Which presents a burning question: If faculty are being paid less, class sizes are growing and tuition is higher than ever, where is the money going?”
Head over to Salon for the full article.

The Plight of The Adjunct Professor

Emily Maloney at the Georgia Political Review outlines the real problems faced by faculty and students when universities drive down the cost of instruction through the use of cheap academic labor:
“At the end of the day, adjuncts all over the country are often highly educated, compassionate, effective teachers that make a difference in their students’ lives every single semester. When they enter the profession, they are hoping to be lifelong educators, researchers, and mentors, but the university system is not allowing them to fulfill these goals. Universities need to be held accountable for their treatment of these professors both on a humanitarian basis, but also from the perspective of providing the best resources and educational experiences to students.”
Read the whole article here.