INSIDE HIGHER ED: The Shrinking Academic Workforce

Career College Central Summary:

  • The academic workforce is shrinking.
  • Not by much, mind you: the number of faculty members and administrators at colleges eligible to award federal financial aid declined by a mere 7,500 from 2012 to 2013, according to new Education Department statistics.
  • But the dip, however small, is the first in many years. And it comes after a period of steady and at times sharp expansion of college staffs, which often accompanied sizable increases in student enrollments.
  • The percentage drop in the number of employees, which the National Center for Education Statistics puts at 0.19 percent, to 3,969,396 in 2013 from 3,976,803 in 2012, is actually larger than the enrollment decline that the report also documents. Overall enrollments fell by about 300,000 (to 20.85 million from 21.15 million) in 2013, about evenly split between for-profit institutions and public two-year institutions.
  • But while for-profit colleges shed more than 38,000 jobs alongside their enrollment losses, staffing at two-year institutions remained stable, actually edging up slightly, to 652,492 staff members in 2013 from 649,982 in 2012.
  • Staffing at public colleges over all grew slightly from 2012 to 2013, edging up to 2,549,850 from 2,534,848, a half-percentage-point increase. The number of administrators and instructors at private nonprofit colleges grew more, by 1.4 percent, to 1,161,424 in 2013 from 1,145,340 in 2012. 

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