Professors in Poverty

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Recent data demonstrate that faculty across the country are unable to make ends meet. Despite ever-rising tuition, nearly a third of part-time faculty are living below or near poverty.

Check out the highlights below and down and (Click here for a PDF of the factsheet and citations.)

Below Poverty

  • Part-time faculty are more likely to be in poverty than the average Americans, ranging from 9% in Nevada to 43% in Maine.
  • 1 in 5 part-time faculty members live below the poverty line.
  • 22% of part-time faculty live below the poverty line, while 14.5% of Americans live in poverty (2013).
  • 1 in 10 part-time faculty live below the poverty line in 44 states and the District of Columbia.
  • 1 in 5 part-time faculty live below the poverty line in 31 states and the District of Columbia.
  • 1 in 4 part-time faculty live below the poverty line in 16 states.

Near or Below Poverty

  • 31% of part-time faculty have an income that is less than 150% of the federal poverty level.
  • 14% of all faculty (including full-time) live below or near the poverty line.
  • The percentage of part-time faculty living near or below the poverty line ranges from 14% in New Jersey to 51% in Utah.
  • 1 in 5 part-time faculty live near or below the poverty line in 42 states and the District of Columbia.
  • 1 in 3 part-time faculty live near or below the poverty line in 22 states.
  • 10 percent of all faculty (part-time and full-time) live near or below poverty in 42 states and the District of Columbia.

Taxpayers are subsidizing low-wage education employers who don’t pay livable wages.

Enrollment in Public Assistance

  • 1 in 4 families of part-time faculty are enrolled in one or more public assistance programs (25% of part-time faculty).
  • 7% of families of part-time faculty members are enrolled in Medicaid and 6% are enrolled in Children’s Health Insurance Program.
  • 7% of families of part-time faculty members receive food stamp benefits.
  • 1 in 5 families of part-time faculty receive Earned Income Tax Credit payments (20% of part-time faculty).
  • Families of close to 100,000 part-time faculty members are enrolled in public assistance programs.
  • The high participation rate among families of part-time faculty members can be attributed to low wages, lack of benefits and lack of job security.

Cost of Public Assistance Programs

  • The taxpayer cost of public assistance for families of part-time faculty is nearly half billion per year ($468 million).
  • More than half of these costs, or a total of $274 million per year, is spent on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
  • Due to low earnings, families of part-time faculty receive an annual total of $53 million in food stamp benefits, $146 million in Earned Income Tax Credit payments and $3 million a year for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits.

We are worth more! Find the full data state by state data here. For the public cost data, click here.