While reliance on part-time contingent faculty has helped constrain faculty compensation costs, it hasn't produced the same level of savings in total compensation costs for all employees.
Colleges and universities across the board are relying more on contingent faculty to increase flexibility and reduce costs. Yet little is known about whether such savings actually lower overall institutional costs or if the money saved on instruction is being spent elsewhere. This paper, the second in a two-part series based on data provided by the Delta Cost Project at American Institutes for Research, examines the financial trade-offs institutions make when hiring more part-time contingent faculty.
- A clear relationship exists between reliance on part-time contingent faculty and cost savings in faculty salaries and benefits. However, savings in total compensation costs for all employees during the period studied (2003 to 2013) have been more modest.
- Public four-year institutions are apt to use savings associated with part-time contingent faculty to increase expenditures on administration and maintenance.
- Private four-year and public two-year institutions showed little sign of cost shifting, reporting not only flat or declining instructional spending but also limited growth or declines in administration and maintenance expenditures.