Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The trickle down tuition plan

There was an important article in the GW Hatchet this week detailing the salary increases that several of the GW professors and administrators got this year. Unfortunately, these aren't the types of stories that people read in the Hatchet, but they are the ones that are the most important to the student body. According to the Hatchet, there were very large increases in salary for both teachers and administrators.

The University's four vice presidents saw varying increases in their salaries over the time span, with Executive Vice President Donald Lehman seeing the largest increase - 52 percent. John Williams, the vice president of health affairs and University provost, had the highest salary of vice presidents in 2007, earning $772,500, according to the report.

I understand why teachers get an increase in salary. It is necessary to pay them a comparable rate to other Universities in order to retain top-level talent. However, I don't see how these administrators can justify getting a pay raise of up to 52% as is reported in the article. In a report by, GW was listed as having the third highest tuition in the entire country, and very near the top:

College Cost
1. Sarah Lawrence College $54,410
2. New York University $51,991
3. The George Washington University $51,730
4. Bates College $51,300
5. Skidmore College $51,196

Teachers are the ones in the classrooms, and they are the ones that should be seeing increases in pay. While administrators do important work at our school, I don't see how the administration can possibly justify deciding to raise tuition and then turning around and awarding themselves a portion of it.

The cost of college is one of the biggest inhibitors in our higher education system right now, and these astronomical increases in administrator salaries are a step in the wrong direction.

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