Rutgers Has the Money

At our  Open the Books events on November 9, AAUP’s Professor of Accounting Howard Bunsis used Rutgers’ own audited books and budgets to reveal that faculty and staff continue to  generate big profits for the university. This treasure trove of information will be invaluable to all of the nearly 20,000 unionized employees heading into bargaining in early 2018.

Below are some of the highlights, and you can click here to watch the video of Professor Bunsis’s presentation. Despite repeated requests, Rutgers refused to share its audited 2017 budget which must be made available to the state, therefore data below is based on 2016 numbers that we will update as soon as 2017 data is made available. Notably, even private institutions as well as our Big Ten peers post updated data on their websites. Regrettably Rutgers’ financial data remains incomplete, out-of-date and opaque.

  • Rutgers has $804 million in unrestricted reserves, which Rutgers defines as “available to the institution for any lawful purpose.”
  • At least 244 top administrators have annual salaries of $250,000 or more. In fact, 38 of them make $500,000 or more. Between 2014 and 2016, management salaries went up 12.4% while  instruction salaries went down .02%.
  • The salaries for Rutgers’ top administrators as a percent of total employee salaries far exceeds all other Big Ten institutions. Peer institutions pay a median of 8% of total salaries to top administrators, while Rutgers pays a whopping 12%. This figure includes Big Ten institutions with medical schools where salaries are much higher.
  • Rutgers spends 29% of salaries to cover fringe costs (medical, retirement and other benefits), yet it budgets 44% toward the fringe, unnecessarily driving up costs to desperately needed research grants.
  • Less than one percent (a mere 0.8%) of Rutgers’ $4 billion budget goes toward wages for about 3,000 Part-Time Lecturers (PTLs) who teach well over 30% of all classes. While PTL instruction has soared as much as 29% since 2014, Teaching Assistant positions have declined by 8%.
  • Athletics spending was $79 million in 2016 and is rapidly rising to keep up with Big Ten competitors, yet rights fees and revenues have plummeted leaving Rutgers with the fifth largest athletics deficit in the nation. Student fees and diverted funds from the university’s academic mission make up 34% of the athletics subsidy, more than double any other Big Ten school.

Check out some of the slides from the presentation here: