Financial Scale

Consideration of students’ needs was neglected to decide administrative pay.

Consideration of students’ needs was neglected to decide administrative pay.

For the 2009-2010 academic year, 20,481 full-time undergraduates of 22,901 enrolled at Temple applied for need-based financial aid. According to Temple’s Common Data set for the year, 15,708 of those students were “determined to have financial need.”

  Of those 15,708 students in need, however, 14,689 were awarded financial aid, in the form of scholarships, grants or need-based self-help aid, leaving 1,019 students with financial need without the proper funds to attend Temple.

In-state tuition costs $11,174 for the year, and out-of-state costs $20,454, not including fees or room and board. The price tag on the remaining students may be hefty, but at an institution that met 89 percent of its students’ financial need this year, according to the Common Data set, it doesn’t seem terribly out of reach.

It sounds like a lot of numbers, but these figures are crucial to understanding the university’s background and where it spends its funds.

The Chronicle of Higher Education released its annual executive compensation survey of 185 public universities and community colleges last week and found that Temple President Ann Weaver Hart’s salary was near the top of the list.

 She ranked No. 28 on the list, according to the survey, and earns a total of $602,403 per year, which includes a salary of $527,403, use of a car and house and deferred compensation of $75,000.

Hart’s “deferred compensation” alone is more than the average salary of a typical Temple student’s parent.

This is not to say that Hart does not deserve high compensation for what she does. Being president of a university, especially one as large and complex as Temple, is no simple task. But at a public university where so many students and their families are struggling to pay for the education, the numbers seem skewed.

Temple is not the 28th most expensive college on the list, and certainly not the most financially sound, so why does Hart’s compensation place her so high on the list?

With students in need, Temple – especially in the area of financial aid – should evaluate its priorities. In a perfect world, the university’s sole mission would be the education of its students, and while it is understandable that astronomical amounts of money are required to do so, examples at Temple like Hart’s high salary make that value judgment seem clouded.

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