Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Let's Play Connect The Dots...

The pepper-spraying of Occupy protesters at the University of California-Davis in November hasn't been forgotten—and not just because students returned this quarter to find campus statues sprayed in the eyes with orange paint. With this week's release of a task force report on the incident, the controversy may well flare up all over again. But even before students began calling for Chancellor Linda Katehi to be held accountable for the actions of the school’s riot-equipped police, another criticism had dogged Katehi since her hiring in 2009. Like her fellow UC chancellors, Katehi's $400,000 base salary makes her a bona fide 1-percenter, earning more than double the salary of Gov. Jerry Brown.Have chancellor salaries always been this high?


But after a generation of relative stability, chancellor pay has rocketed upward in the last two decades. The 1989 adjusted salary of $230,381 becomes $330,229 by 1999, and an impressive $412,626 in 2010—a figure that does not include such longstanding chancellor perks as a house and a car. By comparison, a 2011 UC Office of the President report (PDF) shows adjusted average systemwide UC professor salaries holding steady at about $110,000 since the late 1980s—just as chancellor salaries doubled.

How did that happen? Buried in the UC archives is a frank 1999 interview with Clark Kerr, UC Berkeley's first chancellor and one of the founding fathers of California's influential tiered system of community colleges, state universities, and flagship universities. Kerr singles out former UC Senior Vice President Ron Brady for pegging the pay of top administrators to private sector standards, instead of to state public servant pay. Brady and other UC brass, Kerr acidly observes, stood to profit handsomely by this line of reasoning. It's one reason why Chancellor Katehi, in charge of about 28,000 regular and student employees, now earns $400,000—while the head of Caltrans, who oversees roughly 22,000 workers in California state transportation, earns $121,922.

Compared with the salaries of other public university chief execs, though, Katehi's $400,000 is par for the course. While some chief executives—such as the ones at Indiana University, the University of Maine, and Utah State—still earn under-$300,000 salaries, the heads of the Universities of Oregon, Georgia, Kansas, and North Carolina (Chapel Hill) all draw base pay comparable to Katehi's. At campuses like the University of Kentucky, Temple, and Washington State, compensation has shot up to more than $500,000. At some private universities, pay goes straight into the millions.

That’s Rich. The chancellor of UC-Davis is a bona fide 1-percenter. When did executive pay at public universities get so high? (Slate)

A report released Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York renews concerns about the growing debt load of college students and graduates.

The report suggests that as many as 27 percent of the 37 million borrowers have past-due balances of 30 days or more.

“In sum, student loan debt is not just a concern for the young,” the report said. “Parents and the federal government shoulder a substantial part of the postsecondary education bill.”

The report, which was created by an analysis of Equifax credit reports, said the total balance of student loans was $870 billion. Of the 241 million with Equifax credit reports (there are 311 million people in the United States), 15 percent had student debt.

Forty percent of the people under 30 had outstanding student loans, and the average outstanding debt is $23,300. About 10 percent of borrowers owe more than $54,000 and 3 percent owe more than $100,000.

Fed Study of Student Debt Outlines a Growing Burden (New York Times)

About $85 billion in U.S. student loan debt, or 10 percent of the outstanding balance, was delinquent in the third quarter of 2011.

Of the 37 million borrowers who have student-loan balances, 14 percent, or about 5.4 million people, have at least one past due student-loan account, according to a report posted today on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s website.

As many as 47 percent of student-loan borrowers “appear to be in deferral or forbearance,” and didn’t have to make payments as of the third quarter, according to the report. The district bank reported last week that debt from educational loans in the fourth quarter was $867 billion, higher than credit-card debt, according to a survey of consumer credit. Special attention should be paid to these student-loan delinquencies compared with other household debt, the authors wrote.

“Some special accounting used for student loans, not applicable to other types of consumer debt, makes it likely that the delinquency rates for student loans are understated,” wrote the economists, Meta Brown, Andrew Haughwout, Donghoon Lee, Maricar Mabutas and Wilbert van der Klaauw.

Student Loan Delinquency Hits $85 Billion (Bloomberg quote, via The Downward Spiral)

And see: Student Loan Debt Is Stifling Home Sales (TDS). Of course it is. You're saddling your most productive and highest-paid workers with massive debt at the beginning of their careers when they can least afford to pay it. But that's what happens in a predator/prey economy.

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