Wages for staff grow faster at public colleges than private ones

Research universities make the biggest wage gains

Salaries for senior administrators at public colleges and universities grew faster than those at private institutions for the second consecutive year, a new survey finds.   

The survey comes from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) and is based on the salaries of 55,197 administrators at 1,227 institutions and across 191 positions.

Across all institutions, median salary grew in 2014 slightly, by 2.4%. Salary grew slightly more at public institutions (2.5%) compared to private institutions (2.3%).

These rates are all about the same as they were in 2013, but the prevailing trend reverses an earlier one—in 2011 and 2012, salaries at private institutions grew faster than those at public institutions.

The survey also found that research universities gave slighter higher raises than other institutions, also continuing a trend from last year. However, Inside Higher Ed notes that this year's raises may be more meaningful than last year's because low gas prices have resulted in lower inflation.

Excluding the titles of chief health affairs officer and chief hospital administrator, the positions with the highest median salary were dean of medicine ($492,000), chief executive officer of a system ($388,00), and dean of dentistry ($331,200).

CUPA-HR also noted in a release that CEOs were the most likely to receive "executive-only" benefits, such as housing allowances and deferred compensation.

A selection of the full survey results can be viewed as a table at the CUPA-HR website (Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, 3/2; Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/2; Release, College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, 3/2).

The takeaway: A new survey of salaries among senior administrators finds that wage growth at public institutions continues to outpace private institutions, with compensation growth being the strongest at research universities.

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