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Mon Apr 13, 2015, 03:59 PM

Someone Calculated How Many Adjunct Professors Are on Public Assistance, and the Number Is Startling

By Jordan Weissmann

Once in a while, someone publishes an article about adjunct professors who resort to food stamps in order to survive on the rock-bottom pay that so many college instructors are expected to live on. But until today, I had never seen a statistic summing up how many academics are actually resorting to government aid. The number, it turns out, is rather large. According to an analysis of census data by the University of California–Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education, 25 percent of "part-time college faculty" and their families now receive some sort public assistance, such as Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, food stamps, cash welfare, or the Earned Income Tax Credit. For what it's worth, that's not quite so bad as the situation faced by fast-food employees and home health care aids, roughly half of whom get government help. But, in case there were any doubt, an awful lot of Ph.D.s and master's degree holders are basically working poor.



I don't think it would be quite accurate to say that 25 percent of all adjuncts are getting aid, since some do in fact have full-time jobs that would show up in the census as their occupation. Still, we're talking about a large group of highly educated individuals. According to NBC News, which reported on some of the labor center's data prior to publication, "families of close to 100,000 part-time faculty members are enrolled in public assistance programs."

more
http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/04/13/adjunct_pay_a_quarter_of_part_time_college_faculty_receive_public_assistance.html

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Reply Someone Calculated How Many Adjunct Professors Are on Public Assistance, and the Number Is Startling (Original post)
n2doc Apr 2015 OP
totodeinhere Apr 2015 #1
enlightenment Apr 2015 #2
caraher Apr 2015 #3
enlightenment Apr 2015 #4
StarzGuy Apr 2015 #5

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2015, 04:31 PM

1. Considering how much colleges charge for tuition nowadays you would think that

that at least they could afford to give their adjunct professors a decent salary.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2015, 04:45 PM

2. Has Salon

always been a haven for neo-conservative readers or have I just not been paying attention? The comments to this article are foul - and remarkably consistent in their disdain for anyone who takes a graduate degree that doesn't pan out to a six-figure salary outside of academia.

yuck.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 13, 2015, 06:26 PM

3. Isn't the link to Slate

and not Salon? I'd expect a much more conservative audience at Slate.

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Response to caraher (Reply #3)

Mon Apr 13, 2015, 06:29 PM

4. Well that explains it.

And I will add a "DOH" - since I looked right at it and still got it wrong.

CRS is taking over, I'm afraid, and you're quite right. Slate does attract a considerably more conservative readership.

Thank you for helping me unfuddle (unbefuddle? What is the opposite of befuddle . . .?)

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2015, 07:01 PM

5. I mistakenly thought that I would be offered a full time assignment.

I had been working full time as a high school science teacher when I received my second masters degree and wanted to teach at a higher education institution. I applied all over the place and could only find adjunct positions. So, I accepted one at two different colleges at different times. The first department chair told me that even though there was a need to another full time faculty in my field the college would not allow her to hire anyone because of the cost of health insurance and other benefits like retirement. Another time I was talking to a full time faculty member at another institution. I discussed my status as an adjunct. He told me that I'd have to keep adjucting for anywhere between 10 and 20 years before their adjunct professors would have a chance for a full time tenure position because usually the only time there were openings is when someone retired.

I found teaching as adjunct in my field way more satisfying than teaching high school science. After 20+ years I'd had enough of the public high school but kept on working full time there and as adjunct for some time until I got terribly sick and had to retire on disability. Never did get an offer for full time tenure position at the college I was an adjunct professor. No benefits. And being adjunct professor is a lot of work for basically little pay and no benefits.

My mistake was waiting too long into my career to switch to college professorship. I strongly recommend that you find a full time tenured position at the start of your career. If you can't find one and having a similar desire you should acquire an adjunct professorship at the earliest time in your professional career. That way you will have the necessary time to land that full position.

This is solely based on my personal experiences. Your experiences will probably be different

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