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University pay policies: No simple answers
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 11:00 AM
Indiana, Purdue and other state universities, have agreed to make public the total compensation packages for employees. Total compensation and actual pay would match pretty closely for most employees, but it can make a huge difference for top administrators, with our basketball and football coaches topping the list.
We're talking millions here. Well, millions at least for IU basketball Coach Tom Crean, who makes $600,000 in base salary but close to $2.5 million when all the extras are added in.
Meanwhile, at Purdue, new President Mitch Daniels announced a freeze on merit pay bonuses for administrators making more than $50,000 a year.
While it seems like a huge amount, Crean's compensation package is in the ball park with Matt Painter's at Purdue - and no doubt similar to or even smaller than other head basketball coaches at big-time schools. The same with all those other compensation numbers - they're extreme only in comparison with the pay of most of us working stiffs.
And Purdue's effort at saving money? Certainly Daniels, who until recently was governor of Indiana, is committed to his stated goal of reducing or at least limiting increases in tuition for students at Purdue.
Should those people at the top make so much money? We can't answer that, except to say it's not an issue that originates at IU or Purdue. Compared to similar jobs at comparable institutions, pay is in line or even low. And those are the places with which IU competes for talent. If salaries here and at Purdue aren't competitive, you can bet many would be shopping themselves to other universities or to private industry.
But how then, to make college affordable for those students who face post-graduation debt that seems to have no ceiling?
That's a very tough question. IU has some small-scale plans that it thinks will hold down tuition a little and help students pay for their educations. Daniels has cut pay increases and frozen tuition. Both plans surely will help.
Neither, sadly, is enough. We must make college more affordable.
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