Newspaper analysis: Ohio's public university salaries swelled by nearly $1.4 billion in decade

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Payroll for the 14 Ohio public universities grew by nearly $1.4 billion over the past decade, with salaries for vice presidents, deans and lower-level administrators swelling during that time, according to a newspaper analysis.

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Experts say the payroll increase of more than 40 percent — or 12 percent when adjusted for inflation — over that period has contributed to inflated tuition and taxpayer expense, according to the Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/1iRvmGT ) in a story published Wednesday.

The largest increase came in institutional support, or administrative jobs, which grew 25 percent with inflation. Instructional payroll and benefits also increased, though by a more modest 11 percent.

Higher education experts say bloat extends beyond the upper ranks. Other nonteaching posts also have ballooned, from employees who provide student services and maintain IT systems to those in charge of a growing network of campus buildings.

"All this spending on administration amounts to an administrative tax on students," said John McNay, president of the Ohio Conference Association of University Professors union.

For the majority of Ohio schools, the largest payroll increases took place within the administrative ranks. For instance, Ohio State's administrative payroll swelled 53 percent compared to a 22 percent jump in total payroll.

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University officials concede that administrative ranks have grown, but they say that's largely because of increased federal regulations requiring more people to monitor compliance.

Apart from federal regulations, college officials say state regulations and requirements from third-party accreditation groups have added to payroll.

Inflation-adjusted payroll grew at almost every local college from 2003 to 2013, according to the most recent data available.

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Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com