I live in a neighborhood with a lot of professors. My husband works for a university, although on the business end of things. There's a whole lot of flexibility that comes with the faculty jobs. Lots of people walking their dogs, or out jogging, or playing with their kids in the park during the day.
Often when the university really wants to recruit one spouse, they will hire the other too, just to get the one they want. Lots of academic couples, the value of which is debatable. Many of these people pulling down big salaries, also have their husbands or wives working at the university too. There's lot of that at the administrative levels as well.
My professor neighbor sometimes doesn't teach a class for an entire year. Yeah, he's working on publishing, which is what is valued over teaching at most big universities. He supervises a few grad students, then does research in another country for a few months, where he travels extensively and visits friends. Nice. I'd be surprised if he puts in 20 hours a week most of the time. Not everyone is pulling down huge salaries by any means, but with the health benefits, pensions, and overall flexible hours, it seems like a pretty sweet deal for most people.
One of the biggest problems is there are a lot of people with tenure who are dead wood, but they NEVER retire. They continue to teach a class or two per year and hang around. Also, the university systems are still giving retirees full health benefits. You just aren't seeing that kind of benefit in the private sector. Many of the professors are not earning huge salaries, but the benefits are very, very nice. Most of the big salaries are coming from the administration side. Typical. People closest to the money tend to make more money. I know for a fact that many of them gave themselves and their management teams raises just before the furloughs were announced. They saw it coming, protected their asses, and let their lower level people take the hit.
As for why tuitions are high, that's been part of the problem. They aren't high at all in CA. In fact, we have a community college system that's almost free. The administration has been very slow to pass on any rate increases to the students. There was probably a decade or more where there were NO increases at all. Then, as soon as people started to realize that the economy was in the tank and rates had to rise, the students started crying foul. You can't raise our tuition! We are entitled! Give someone a free lunch, and they get pissed when they have to pay.
Hahaha, Free?! No, CA colleges education is paid for by the poor tax payers who will never get a college education.
The increasing cost of tuition has to do with subsidization. Anything the government tries to provide "free" usually ends up costing more; especially since anything that the government gives away for free has really high artificial demand. What is the dropout rate for the first 2 years of state college?
I don't know about the drop-out rate but that's a good point.
It is funny to hear the students whine about increases on tuition and fees when they didn't have any increases for years and, as you pointed out, they are getting a HUGELY subsidized awesome deal for their money as it is.
You are using the relativity argument to argue your point: yes, UCs are a good "deal"...but the INCREASES that do come are NOT proportionate to the income level increases of students, at least not the ones paying for themselves (like me).
Seriously. I took 2 summer courses a few years ago that cost me like $800. Fine. I took 2 last summer that cost me $1300, not including fees (new ones; can't recall the names). That's ridiculous.
I think most schools should shift to a polytechnic structure. If I'm not mistaken, such schools make students pay varying tuition based on the college they will be studying at. The colleges with most courses/professors...i.e. the ones that cost the most to run, should also cost the most to attend.
Another ridiculous issue is the cost of books. Hey, let's change two chapters and call this a NEW EDITION! Then we can charge those kids an extra $150 for essentially the same fucking text book!
I'm pretty sure teachers don't have to buy their own books, because if they did, they would be more opposed to frequent changes in texts from the publishers, seeing as how they would have to pay for it from their own pockets.
And a teacher I had over a year ago is a PhD in being a FUCKING PRICK and makes $125k a year. He teaches 2 courses a semester, TOPS. And he's a shitty teacher: my buddy who is a programmer took the prof's web dev class and said the guy can't code worth shit.
Agree - I believe text books were a much smaller percentage of college costs just a few years ago. They do come out with barely changed new editions to try to squash the used text book market. A lot of people are predicting text book publishers will soon be moving things to e-books so they can completely kill the used book market. That should bring prices down you'd think. We'll see how it plays out.
Ponce - The UC's do have a varying fee structure. You pay a lot more to go to UCLA or UC Berkley than to go to UC Riverside for example. I'm not sure if that's what you mean. I'm not sure about the Cal State structure.
I agree that some of the most recent increases have been very steep. Problem is, they should have been making incremental fee increases every year all along, not waiting till they had a disaster situation and then hitting the students with these huge increases. They held off passing on these costs for so long, it caused a much bigger problem than if they'd been just giving everybody a modest fee hike that they could plan on every year. By delaying the pain, they just made things worse for people like you who are trying to budget and plan for the duration.
As for terrible teachers - the tenure system is broken in my opinion. It's very hard to get rid of people who aren't productive. You can be a horrible teacher too, but if you are publishing and getting grant money then the university will love you. That's not so good from a student's perspective.
Oh, and Ponce - About text books, the professors NEVER have to buy a text book. They have publishers sending them free ones all the time, in hopes that they will choose their book for a course. It's in the publisher's best interest to have new editions all the time. Of course, many of the professors are also getting some money as text book authors. They really, really hate the used book market as well.
Maybe Im just ignorant or stupid, but I always thought that teachers should be getting payed a higher than average salary? Most of them have Masters or PHD's and most are decent teachers. People complain about tenure but I mean honestly how many teachers have you had that you can truly thought were aweful? Just because you didn't like their teaching method or them as a person doesn't mean they are bad.
I mean i go to CSUF and I haven't really had a teacher I thought should be fired.
Somebody enlighten me or just explain to me all the hate against teachers recently.
Okay, I will try to break down professors salaries in a BIG GENERIC way.
Profs are evaluated on: Research, publishing and funding Teaching Service
Research, publishing and funding is the biggie. If you can publish well and do research that consistently brings in money for the university (as in a grant or two a year), example a $100K grant, college may take 20% to 50% of that, those people get paid more.
Teaching, at large research schools this is barely considered. There will always be students who complain, so as long as your reviews do not include accounts of sexual harassment you will pass. Now, if your research is not supported by your department (it can be great and ground breaking but not popular) and your teaching sucks then you are out (and great teaching may not be enough to keep you).
Service, well, this is usually dumped on the newest people.
Nutshell: the more money the professor can bring into the school through grants the more they will be paid. Teaching (unfortunately) at large research institutions means little - though this does not prevent some professors from being great teachers.
Say SJSU is known for engineering and maybe business, as the two "standout" majors with the largest enrollment and best programs, which attract students and recruiters.
The schools of those majors (college of engineering, college of business) should be technically have more professors and be LARGER to accommodate a larger population (within the majors, not the uni itself). That means that those colleges should also be using more RESOURCES (professors, labs, etc) and hence should cost more.
The humanities department (college of humanities) should have a tuition that is proportionally less, based on the students enrolled in that college and the number of RESOURCES used for that college. At least, that's how I think Cal Poly works, but I could be wrong on the details.
Basically, different majors pay different tuitions WITHIN THE SAME UNI, and obviously there would be a ceiling/floor to this figure.
Make sense? That's what I mean.
What I don't like is that something like the Parking Services at my uni was pulling in just under $2 million a YEAR from parking permits, fines, daily passes...and they were NOT obligated to share that money with the school. At least, that's what the lieutenant I interviewed for an article told me. That is ABSURD. You are profiting off the student body, you should at least pay a portion of that to the uni, like a brokerage fee.
I think the budgets/expenses should be made much more accessible and transparent to the students/public. I would also like some system where private sectors donates X amount for a guarantee of college grads to work for them...not a slave system, but an OPTION. i.e., Google pays $1 million dollars in exchange for the top 1% of programmers from the uni. Grads would work for a bit lower salary out of school, but the job would be pretty much guaranteed.
The system could scale so company A pays $1 million and gets say 20% of top 1% of students, while company B pays $500,000 and gets 10% of top 1%....or something like that, but definitely tiered.
It would lower tuition costs (I think) and give the companies a say (hopefully, in the long run) in the overall program structure of the major they are recruiting from. This means hiring managers would be able to vote on what courses should be taught to prepare students for work.
That last idea is a bit out there because it involves so much change, but I think it could possibly alleviate some pains. I am sure there are problems with it, though.
Yes, I KNOW. That's why I am so pissed off. Make the professors SHARE the same pain as students, it will force the professors to act and push back against publishers. Right now, profs have NO incentive to keep the older texts. It's retarded. I personally think all the bundled slides and exams that come with newer texts is a big reason why profs keep going for the newer material--essentially, many profs are lazy, usually the ones who have just started teaching or aren't yet tenured, but also the ones who are NOT from industry.
I have always favored industry profs (in general). Huge difference in how they teach.