Pay rises faster at Indiana public universities than national peers

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Most of Indiana’s public universities gave their professors higher-than-average raises this school year, according to a new national survey of higher-ed salaries.

One reason for the relatively generous raises: Indiana universities have not been hit quite as hard as their peers by cuts to state funding.

The annual survey, conducted by the American Association of University Professors, showed average salary increases at Indiana schools exceeding averages of peer institutions nationally. Those schools were Ball State University, all seven campuses operated by Indiana University, three of the four campuses operated by Purdue University, and at Ivy Tech Community College.

The data represent average pay for full-time professors and instructors of all ranks at each state-supported institution. Purdue’s West Lafayette campus had the highest average salary, $101,000, followed closely by IU-Bloomington, where salaries averaged $98,400.

The lowest-paid faculty were at Ivy Tech, averaging $47,000.

In 2010, former Gov. Mitch Daniels cut funding to state colleges and universities by $150 million. But those reductions were less than in most other states during the 2008 recession and slow economic recovery. The Legislature is now close to passing a budget that would restore some, but not all, of those cuts.

Since 2008, appropriations to the universities have fallen an inflation-adjusted 6.7 percent, the association said.

Only eight states have seen a smaller decline in state funding. State funding cuts since 2008 have averaged 18.4 percent nationally—nearly triple what Indiana experienced.

“Most state budgets reveal a continued trend of disinvestment from the sector through reductions in their annual appropriations for higher education, which historically have been the single largest revenue source for most public colleges and universities,” John Curtis and Saranna Thornton wrote in a report accompanying the association survey.

Across all public research universities in Indiana, faculty salaries rose an average of 1.7 percent for the 2012-13 academic year, according to the survey.

But salaries rose 2.7 percent at Ball State in Muncie, 2.3 percent at IU’s Bloomington campus and 1.7 percent at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus.

When benefits and other compensation were factored in, Ball State professors earned 3.1 percent more, Purdue-West Lafayette professors 2.2 percent more, and IU-Bloomington professors just 0.7 percent more.

Inflation averaged 2.1 percent in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which offset most of the those compensation increases.

Inflation has eaten up most faculty pay increases for the past decade, Curtis and Thornton noted in their report.

“Indeed, average full-time faculty salaries, adjusted for inflation, actually decreased at public master’s-granting institutions and community colleges, and increased by less than 1 percent at public doctoral universities and baccalaureate colleges over the decade,” they wrote.

At IU and Purdue’s regional campuses, pay increases ranged from a low of 0.7 percent at Purdue-Calumet to 3.1 percent at IUPUI. Similar institutions nationally averaged increases of 0.8 percent to 1.2 percent.

At Ivy Tech, which operates 31 campuses around Indiana, salaries rose 1.3 percent in the most recent year, compared with a decline nationally among similar institutions of 1.1 percent.

Only at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville did average faculty pay decline for the 2012-13 school year, according to the survey. Average salaries at the school fell 1.7 percent compared with the previous academic year.

But USI ramped up spending on benefits, which boosted overall faculty compensation an astounding 12.5 percent compared with the previous year.

Data were not available in this year’s survey for Indiana State University or for Vincennes University.

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