UNC-Chapel Hill one of highest-paying public universities, study finds

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pays professors the fifth-highest average salary among public universities of its kind, a study by the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy has found. The other Research I institution in North Carolina, North Carolina State University, also pays its professors well comparatively, with an average salary greater than the nationwide average for public Research I institutions. The study examined 56 Research I institutions’ salaries adjusted for the cost of living at each institution’s location.

According to the study, UNC-CH’s salary for professors ($88,000) was bested by salaries at only four other Research I institutions (see the list below) and was well ahead of the average salary for all public Research I institutions ($78,100). N.C. State’s salary of $81,900 was also higher than the average. The salaries for associate professors at UNC-Chapel Hill ($64,700) ranked third and at N.C. State ($58,800) ranked 19th (the average was $56,100). Both institutions’ salaries for assistant professors ranked in the top ten; N.C. State’s ($51,800) ranked fifth, and UNC-CH’s ($50,800) ranked eighth (the average was $46,700). Salaries across the faculty ranks at both institutions also were above the averages among all Research I institutions, public and private (professor, $81,100; associate professor, $56,700; assistant professor, $47,500).

Jon Sanders, director of publications for the Pope Center, conducted the study. He said adjusting university salaries according to the costs of living in each area provides a better comparison than strictly examining the salaries. “The effect is that the professors here, even when they receive fewer dollars than professors living in such high-cost areas as Boston, New York and Los Angeles, are given dollars that go a lot farther because of the relatively low cost of living in the Triangle.”

The results of the study will be published in the July/August issue of Clarion magazine, a free publication of the Pope Center, and will be available online at www.popecenter.org. Copies or subscriptions will also be available by calling the Pope Center at (919)828-3876.

The top 10 highest-paying public Research I institutions

1. Univ. of Virginia* ($94,700)

2. Univ. of Michigan-Ann Arbor* ($91,700)

3. Georgia Institute of Technology ($91,100)

4. Rutgers University* ($90,100)

5. Univ. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill ($88,000)

6. Univ. of Texas-Austin ($87,500)

7. State Univ. of New York at Buffalo ($87,400)

8. University of Iowa* ($86,400)

9. Pennsylvania State University* ($86,300)

10. Purdue University ($85,900)

22. North Carolina State University ($81,900)

The average salary at all public Research I institutions: ($78,100)

This study relied on faculty salary data for the 1998-99 academic year compiled by the American Association of University Professors. Salaries were adjusted according to the cost of living (COL) data provided by the ACCRA Cost of Living Index for the Fourth Quarter of 1998. Where ACCRA did not provide COL data for the exact location of the university, the COL was extrapolated by using the COL data for nearby, similar areas (salaries at institutions above marked with * were adjusted using extrapolated COL data). Research I is a classification by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, based on the programs the institution offers, the number of doctoral degrees the institution grants and the amount of federal support the institution receives. There are 88 Research I institutions according to the Carnegie Foundation’s 1994 classifications, of which 59 are public. This study examined 56 of the 59; some data were missing for three – the University of Hawaii, the University of Tennessee, and Utah State University.