One of the biggest budget- busters for colleges and universities is the administration.
Dartmouth alum Joseph Asch takes a detailed look at the spreadsheets for Brown University and his alma mater, noting that Brown now has 36% more students than Dartmouth. Crunching the numbers, he reveals a core reason for the discrepancy between these similar institutions.
Brown has a larger faculty than Dartmouth (736 tenured and tenure track professors vs. 589 at Dartmouth) and the faculty there has more members of the prestigious national academies in its ranks.
According to its 2013 audited financial accounts, Dartmouth’s total annual expenses came to $835,273,000. And Brown’s? What’s your guess? Pick one of the below:
□ $1,136,000. Good guess. With 36% more students, you might think that Brown costs 36% more to run than Dartmouth.
□ $1,236,000. A prudent guess, too. You’ve taken the 36% figure, and you’ve added a big-city cost premium because of Brown’s location in Providence.
□ $1,064,000. Clever, as well. You’ve assumed that there are economies of scale in running a school, so even though Brown has 36% more students, it only needs one President, one Provost, one Dean of the Faculty, etc., just like the College, so it is less costly to operate than Dartmouth on a per-student basis.
Fooled ya! You are wrong on all three counts, for you haven’t taken account of the elephant in the room: the bloated, overpaid Dartmouth staff. Despite Dartmouth’s smaller size, the College has 2,995 full-time and 333 partime non-faculty staff members on its payroll; Brown only has 2,574 fulltime and 653 partime non-faculty employees. And if the SEIU wage scale is typical of overall employee compensation, Dartmouth’s staff is much better paid than Brown’s, and its members have more costly benefits, even though taxes and the cost of living are much lower in New Hampshire.
So what’s the answer to the question? As a result of the College’s huge staff payroll, the cost of running Brown each year is, wait for it, not higher than running Dartmouth; in fact, it is lower by $105,491,000. Brown only costs $729,182,000 to run each year, vs. $835,273,000 for the College…
How the heck does D...