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Part-timers now 49 percent of nation’s college and university faculty, RTI International researchers find

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, North Carolina — Part-time workers now make up nearly half of the faculty of U.S. colleges and universities, according to the 2016 edition of The Condition of Education, a federal report on the nation’s education system with contributions from RTI International.

Between fall 1993 and fall 2013, the number of full-time faculty at degree-granting postsecondary institutions increased by 45 percent, while the number of part-time faculty increased by 104 percent. As a result of the steep climb in the number of part-time faculty, part-time workers constitute 49 percent of the total faculty workforce, up from 40 percent in 1993, according to the report.

The Condition of Education, published annually by the National Center for Education Statistics, provides a comprehensive statistical overview of education from preschool to the postgraduate years. The report covers enrollment, student achievement, graduation and dropout rates, employment status of graduates, expenditures, financial aid, and many other indicators of educational progress in the United States.

RTI International contributed 14 of the report’s 43 indicators, including the finding on employment status of faculty members.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • About 60 percent of students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution in the fall of 2008 completed that degree within six years. Women graduated at a higher rate than men – 62 percent versus 57 percent.
  • The number of postsecondary degrees awarded each year is increasing across the board. From 2003-2004 to 2013-2014, associate’s degrees increased by 51 percent, bachelor’s degrees by 34 percent, master’s degrees by 34 percent, and doctoral degrees by 41 percent. Of these types, bachelor’s degrees are the most prevalent, with 1.9 million awarded in 2013-2014.
  • Revenues per full-time equivalent student have increased significantly at private for-profit institutions. In 2013-2014, these institutions generated $19,480 per student, up 34 percent from 2008-2009. For-profit institutions still lag behind private nonprofit institutions in revenue, with private nonprofits generating $20,293 per full-time equivalent in 2013-2014. But the private nonprofits only saw a 6 percent increase over the same time period. The increase at public institutions was 17 percent, to $6,639.

RTI’s work for The Condition of Education also included indicators on the characteristics of degree-granting postsecondary institutions and students; undergraduate and graduate degree fields; undergraduate retention and graduation rates; degrees conferred by public and private institutions; the price of attending an undergraduate institution; loans for undergraduate students; sources of financial aid; and postsecondary institution revenues and expenditures.

The complete report is available online from the National Center for Education Statistics.