And now, back to our program...

Thanks to A. of Pop Tart fame, a few more tales of academic woe: professors unable to make it on their salaries. Not a new theme here - in fact, it's the theme that got us going - but the cases here are particularly distressing to hear about because they do a better job of giving real numbers.

It's interesting, sad and frightening to hear that average wages for professors have only come up .25% - yeah, you're reading that right - over the last 20 years when inflation is accounted for. There are very few careers that can match (and obviously, people in those careers should be glad they don't) that atrocious number. What the article doesn't discuss as it offers these tales is what the average cost of education is. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average student at a publicly funded school has $13,000 per year to cover for school attendance (note that doesn't include actual living expenses), which means just educational costs for someone getting a 4 year Bachelor's, a 2 year masters, and a 4 year Ph.D. would run $130,000 before they paid for food, rent, etc. The other interesting point in those stories is the number of times people were able to go to their families for help. I do wonder what happens to those students who don't have parents who can give them $100,000?

I've not gone so far as to work a second job, though I've considered it (teaching a 4/4, I'm not sure how it would work), I've not done it. And one thing I have decided is that if I can't find a job that puts me in a better position, then it won't be long before I have to leave this career behind.

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Samantha said...

Well, make sure your next career isn't as a librarian! We make less than faculty (at least I do).

September 14, 2007 at 10:39 AM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

I would imagine librarians are suffering from the same social/economic trend that underlies what's happening with professors. Both are careers that tend to rely heavily on public support, and to say that support has eroded over the last twenty years would be putting it mildly to be sure.

September 14, 2007 at 11:45 AM
ash said...

the big debate in n.c. is whether the state should give big subsidies to some tire manufacturers to keep the companies from cutting factory jobs, which pay more than $60K. maybe we should all plan a career change and go into tires.

September 14, 2007 at 5:07 PM