The growth in administrative overhead (bloat) at US colleges and universities between 1976 and 2011

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Via AEI

The chart below shows graphically the growth in administrative overhead (bloat) at US colleges and universities between 1976 and 2011 (the last year of historical data before the Department of Education changed how it classifies non-teaching administrative positions). Do you see the pattern? As college enrollment nearly doubled (+91%) between 1976 and 2011, the number of full-time administrators expanded by +139%, while the number of full-time faculty increased by only about half that amount (+76%). To accommodate the increased number of students attending college, universities saved on payroll costs by hiring more lower-cost part-time faculty instead of more expensive full-time faculty, but even that labor substitution wasn’t enough to offset the cost of the ever-expanding “administrative bloat” in higher education, which contributed significantly to the nearly tripling (+190%) of college tuition in inflation-adjusted dollars during that period.

 

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