Faculty receive smaller slice of revenue at Temple

The university ranks sixth among U.S. schools with the largest faculty spending to revenue gaps.

Temple spends less on faculty relative to revenue from tuition than most universities in the U.S., according to a report from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The difference between what money Temple received in tuition and fees and the amount they spent on instruction in the 2016-17 academic year was $307 million, according to the report.

The discrepancy ranks sixth among all U.S. universities. Pennsylvania State University ranked 5th with a $364 million difference.

A separate study by the Century Foundation, left-leaning think tank, found that for every dollar Temple receives in tuition, it spends $0.61 on instruction. Public universities on average spend $1.42. Temple is not a public university, so it receives less funding from the state.

It can be difficult to compare spending situations at different universities, said Douglas Webber, the director of graduate studies in economics at Temple. Temple gets very little support from the state and uses tuition not only to pay faculty and staff but to maintain buildings, he added. 

“Things like that are usually covered [in] other states,” said Webber, an economics professor. 

Temple, along with Pennsylvania’s other state-related universities, received a 2-percent bump in state funding this year. As a result, the Board of Trustees voted in July to freeze tuition for in-state undergraduate students.

But state funding per student in Pennsylvania has declined by nearly half since 1987, according to a report authored by Webber on Education Next, an education policy journal. 

The university needs to use tuition revenue to pay non-instruction expenses because the university receives less money from sources like endowments, state funding and investments, wrote Chris Vito, spokesperson for the university, in an email to The Temple News.  

“Temple’s limited revenue streams from non-tuition sources require the need for tuition and fees to support more than just instruction-related expenses,” Vito wrote.

Temple has the second-lowest endowment of Pennsylvania’s state-related universities. 

The university is set to receive $158.2 million in state funding this year, which amounts to 12 percent of all revenue, according to the university’s annual budget. Temple previously received $172 million in state appropriations before they were slashed in 2011.

“From what I have seen, Temple doesn’t spend their money wastefully,” Webber said. 

The data clearly reveals that Temple has the resources to pay its faculty, librarians and academic professionals better, wrote Steve Newman, the president of Temple Association of Union Professionals (TAUP) in an email to The Temple News. 

“If Temple can spend more money to value properly the people who teach the students and perform other tasks central to the core missions of the university, why isn’t it,” wrote Newman, also an associate English professor.

Marsha Weinraub, the chair of TAUP’s Tenured/Tenure Track Council, said the university needs to use its funds to invest more in full-time faculty and give adjuncts more contract stability.

“Our full-time tenured faculty isn’t growing as much as it should,” Weinraub said. 

Temple’s non-tenured faculty grew by 19 percent while its tenured and tenured-track faculty grew just by 1 percent from 2013 to 2017. 

“I think it’s very sad,” said Weinraub, also a psychology professor in the College of Liberal Arts. “Our students pay a lot for tuition, and they should be getting their money’s worth.”

Instruction costs in the Chronicle study include wages and benefits paid to faculty and staff members. Tuition and fees exclude the cost of room and board.

The university expects an increase of $3.9 million in tuition and fee revenue this academic year despite undergraduate enrollment falling by 450, according to its annual budget. 

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