PSU’s Administration talks about projected budget deficits and budget gaps that need to be filled, but Professor Bunsis’s analysis of PSU’s budgets, cash flow, reserves, and debt through 2021 shows that, even after the declines in revenues due to the pandemic, there is no justification for cuts to student services and/or the academic mission.
The primary area of University spending that does need to be cut is … Administration itself.
PSU ranks 8th out of 11 in the percent of salaries spent on instruction and research, but ranks #1 among 11 comparator institutions in spending on administration. This is not a list on which we want to rank #1. (To see Professor Bunsis’s analysis for yourself, click here.)
What’s more, the Administration’s own Huron report (written by an independent consulting firm) points out that “investment in general administrative work outweighs all student services, enrollment, and academic program support combined” and that “one-third of managers oversee just 1-2 direct reports.”
Huron report, p. 7 (click for larger image)
In fact, if PSU merely spent the peer median on administrative salaries, we would save $6.3 million per year. That’s millions of dollars every year that could be going to repair faculty and staff salaries and working conditions so that we can retain great faculty and staff at PSU.
Beyond that, we need to add many more great staff and faculty members so that we can expand support for our students’ safety on campus, mental and physical health, career transitions, academic success, and academic options. All of these have been hollowed out over the past few years, at a time when students most need them in order to stay in school and graduate.
We can’t wait any longer. Spending priorities at PSU must change for the benefit of our students and all aspects of our core mission.