Blame Sky-High Tuition Costs on Bloated Executive Salaries, Not Adjunct Overtime

Tuition costs have seen a nearly 300-percent increase in the last 30 years.

UMass President Marty Meehan. Photo via AP

UMass President Marty Meehan. Photo via AP

There are plenty of reasons why it’s never been more expensive to attend a four-year university. But the new federal overtime rule, which mandates that salaried employees who make less than $47,476 while working more than 40 hours a week receive overtime pay, just isn’t one of them.

A new study from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute shows that while tuition costs at public universities have risen a staggering 294.3 percent between 1975 and 2016, the salary threshold for overtime pay has dropped roughly 18 percent in that same span of time.

The claim that raising the threshold and requiring overtime pay for a larger number of graduate student assistants and adjunct professors would raise tuition costs rings a tad hollow. As demonstrated by the EPI graph above, tuition costs have shot up on their own.

“There are dozens of factors that do put economic pressures on universities, including reductions in state funding, expensive athletic departments, a huge growth in the numbers of highly compensated executives and administrators, and building new facilities,” wrote EPI’s Will Kimball and Dan Essrow. “Overtime protection ensures that more working people, including the ones at universities, are paid for every hour they work.”

The new overtime rule, which goes into affect December 1, raises the threshold from its current level of $23,600 to $47,476, and provides a mechanism for updating it to reflect cost of living increases every three years.

You can read EPI’s full report here.