New Report Exposes Widespread Poverty, Decreasing Wages Amongst Florida Professors

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As professors lobby for greater investment in Florida’s colleges,

New Report Exposes Widespread Poverty, Decreasing Wages Amongst Florida Professors

The report is the first to reveal the extent of low-wage work done by professors

FLORIDA – Following outrage last month after Miami Dade College suggested cash-strapped professors consider public assistance, a new report reveals for the first time the extent of low and eroding pay amongst adjunct professors. The report, Florida Colleges in Crisis, finds that while seven in 10 professors in the Florida College System are now an adjunct professor – an instructor employed on a semester-to-semester, course-by-course basis – they typically receive less than $2,000 per course, averaging an annual income of just $17,000. Moreover, the report found that median adjunct professor pay per course decreased five percent since 2010 when adjusted for inflation.

“Even though I have a PhD from Harvard, I made less than $20,000 last year working as a professor,” said Ximena Barrientos, an earth sciences professor at Miami Dade College. “I do this work because I love my students, but I’m struggling to piece together my livelihood. Choosing to teach shouldn’t mean having to live in poverty.”

Over the last decade, per student investment in higher education is down 13 percent in Florida. Funding cuts have forced colleges and universities to fill the gap by raising tuition and relying on lower-paid adjunct faculty. Average tuition is up 59 percent and student debt in Florida has grown faster than in any other state over the past three years. As a result, three of the six metro areas with the biggest student debt increase in the country are in Florida: Orlando, Tampa, and Miami.

“Whether you’re a student, an educator, or a college administrator, we’re all hurt by the chronic underfunding of our education system. It’s time our politicians stop focusing on cutting taxes for corporations and start thinking about investing in our young people,” said Kate Murray, MFA, an adjunct professor of art at Santa Fe College. “Students should have a chance to pursue their dreams without being trapped in crushing debt and all educators should be able to do their jobs without living in poverty.”

Adjunct professors from across the state are coming to Tallahassee to meet lawmakers and advocate for a higher education budget that invests in students and educators. Like K-12 teachers across the country, adjunct professors in Florida’s public colleges and universities are coming together to demand greater investment in the state’s higher ed largest college in the state, are currently in the midst of their union election.

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