When Colleges Rely on Adjuncts, Where Does the Money Go?
Study suggests the funds institutions gain aren’t going to instruction.
By Scott Jaschik
January 5, 2017
Colleges and universities of all kinds are increasingly relying on non-tenure-track faculty members. And administrators frequently defend their hiring choices by citing money. Since adjuncts are paid less than those on the tenure track (and frequently lack benefits), it costs colleges less to have a section taught by an adjunct than by someone who is tenured or on the tenure track.
But where do the savings go?
The American Institutes of Research released two studies Wednesday to answer that question. Both studies use data from the Delta Cost Project — which is highly regarded for tracking how colleges spend money — and both were sponsored by the TIAA Institute.
With regard to savings, the studies suggest that what colleges are saving on instructional costs isn’t resulting in more investment in tenure-track faculty, as some might hope. Rather, the savings appear to be showing up elsewhere, if at all.
Here are some of the key findings:
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