Office of Planning and Budgeting

The University of Washington commonly reports undergraduate time to degree, which measures the amount of time that elapses between a student’s first quarter enrolled at the UW and the quarter when she or he earns a UW bachelor’s degree. Undergraduate time to degree at the campus level is available through Public Profiles. A new OPB brief provides a more detailed look at time to degree at the level of student major. This brief allows a comparison of how long students take to graduate, their average degree GPA, and the average number of credits they take, broken out by major, student origin (first-time freshman or transfer student), and number of majors.

Washington State’s Education Research & Data Center (ERDC) recently published the Earnings for Graduates Report, which provides earnings information for graduates from the state’s public institutions. OPB’s latest brief describes where the data for the report came from, discusses some of its limitations, and warns against relying on the report in choosing a program of study.

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) recently released its report on faculty salaries for 2012-2013. Salaries for full-time faculty members rose by an average of 1.7 percent in 2012-2013, which offsets inflation (estimated at 1.7 percent in 2012-13). However, increases varied widely across institution type—pay at private universities was much higher than salaries at public institutions, and professors at doctoral universities made significantly more than faculty at baccalaureate institutions. Furthermore, the survey counts only faculty members who are employed full-time; part-time adjuncts, whose pay is generally significantly lower than that of full-time professors, are excluded.

Inside Higher Ed has compiled a list of the highest-paid full professors in academia.  Based on the average salary of full professors, Columbia University ($212,300), Stanford University ($207,300), University of Chicago ($203,600), Harvard University ($203,000) and Princeton University ($200,000) are the top five highest-paying institutions. Of the ten universities with the highest average pay, not a single institution is public. The highest-paid full professors at public institutions are at University of California, Los Angeles, ($167,000), New Jersey Institute of Technology ($166,700), University of California, Berkeley ($158,900), Rutgers University at Newark ($154,700) and Rutgers University at New Brunswick ($151,000).

Detailed information about the UW’s submission to AAUP can be found here. In addition, OPB has prepared a table that compares UW average faculty salaries to those at our Global Challenge State (GCS) peer institutions. UCLA and Rutgers University, whose full professors are some of the highest paid in academia, are both in the GCS peer group. According to our analysis, average faculty salaries (of full, associate, and assistant professors combined) would need to increase by 11.4 percent to equal the GCS peer average. The average salary of full professors would need to increase 16 percent and that of associate professors would need to increase 9.2 percent to equal the peer average. As can be seen on the graph below, the UW’s salaries moved closer to those of the GCS peers between 2003 and 2008, but this progress reversed in 2009, when the legislature imposed a four-year salary freeze.

Yesterday, the Office of Financial Management, in partnership with the Council of Presidents and the Department of Enterprise Services, published an updated version of the Statewide Public Four-Year Dashboard. The Dashboard displays institution- and state-level data on student enrollment, progress, and degree production to help better inform policy makers and the general public.

More information about the Dashboard and the data it displays (drawn from the Public Centralized Higher Education Enrollment System) is available in two OPB briefs:

US News and World Report released its annual college rankings Tuesday and the UW dropped from 42 to 46 in the National Universities category, and from 10 to 13 among public universities.

This drop isn’t as severe as it might seem. As noted by the Seattle Times, this change is a relatively small one. In the rankings, many universities may have equal scores and so share a numeric rank. This year, for example, there are five institutions that are ranked 46th.  Last year, there were several institutions ranked 42nd. Only one institution is now ranked above the UW that was not ranked above or tied with the UW last year: UC Irvine.

Ranks are calculated by weighting a number of factors:

  1. Undergraduate academic reputation
  2. Retention
  3. Graduation rate
  4. Faculty Resources
  5. Student selectivity
  6. Spending per student
  7. Alumni giving

Interestingly, the factor for which the UW shows the greatest deviation from other similarly ranked institutions is “Faculty Resources.” While the UW is ranked 46th overall, it is ranked 150th in terms of faculty resources. The two most heavily weighted measures in faculty resources are:

  1. The percentage of classes with fewer than 20 students, and
  2. Average faculty salary.

Given the recent economic situation faced by the UW, it is not surprising that these are problematic measures for us.

In summary, the UW’s ranking has dropped, but the significance of that drop is low. Moreover, the UW’s low ranking on the key “Faculty Resources” factor is to be expected given the salary freeze and state funding cuts the UW has experienced during the Great Recession.

Yesterday, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published a report summarizing fall 2011 employment data and academic year 2010-11 student financial aid data submitted by all Title IV institutions to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Here are some of the findings:


  • Public institutions offered more employment opportunities to graduate students than private ones: fully 17% of the public institutions’ labor force was composed of graduate students, while the figure stood at 7% for private non-profits and 0.3% for private for-profit institutions.

  • Private for-profit institutions relied heavily on part-time instructors: 86% of the staff engaged in instruction, research and/or public service at these institutions was reported as part-time, while 36% of public institution instructional staff and 30% of private nonprofit institution instructional staff fell in that category.


  • For those attending public four-year institutions, average cost of attendance before aid was approximately $17,600 and net price was about $11,000; for those attending nonprofit institutions, average cost before aid was twice as high – approximately $34,000 – while net price was about $19,800; finally, for those attending for-profit institutions, average cost before aid was approximately $27,900 and net price was about $22,500. The average cost of attendance includes tuition and required fees, books and supplies, room and board, and other expenses.

  • An analysis of the average amount of total Title IV aid received by students per income category demonstrates public institutions’ focus on targeting those most in need: public institutions covered 53% of the total cost for students with family income below $30,000, and only 10% of the cost for students with family income above $110,000. The following table provides more detail on the comparable figures for private institutions.

Average Title IV aid
and average price before aid by type of institution,
academic year

Family Income Level





$110,001 +


Average Aid






Aid Ratio






Avg. Net Price






Private Nonprofit

Average Aid






Aid Ratio






Avg. Net Price






Private For Profit

Average Aid






Aid Ratio






Avg. Net Price






The release of this information by the NCES coincides with an emerging effort aimed at “reimagining aid design and delivery” supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which was the subject of a recent article on Inside Higher Ed. We will keep abreast of developments related to this effort and provide updates as more information emerges in the next few months.

Today, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published a report summarizing enrollment, price of attendance, and completions data submitted by all Title IV institutions to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) in fall 2011.

Here are some of the findings:

  • Between 2009-10 and 2011-12, the average undergraduate tuition and required fees at 4-year public institutions nationwide (after adjusting for inflation) increased more for in-state students (9 percent increase) than for out-of-state students (6 percent increase). This is consistent with the UW’s experience, where the tuition increase (after adjusting for inflation) was 31.1% ($2,509.05) for residents and 9.8% ($2,509.55) for non-residents over that period.
  • In 2010-11, of the 25,645,985 undergraduate students enrolled in Title IV institutions in the nation, 50.9% attended 4-year institutions – of these, 59.7% attended public institutions. The public share of the 3,876,611 graduate students enrolled in Title IV institutions was 47.6%.
  • Females constitute 57.0% of the undergraduate and 60.2% of the graduate students in the nation. They also account for 58% of the degrees granted by all 4-year institutions.

The controversial US News and World Report University Rankings have been released for 2012 and are freely available online for a limited period of time. The University of Washington slipped one spot to 42nd among National Universities in the US. The UW, however, comes in at the 10th best public institution in the nation.

Although the US News rankings have long been dominated by endowment-rich private institutions, it is notable that no public institution makes the top 20 anymore. A recent Washington Post article reported that, over the past 20 years, the five highest ranked public institutions have each dropped seven or more spots in the rankings.

In previous posts we have laid out the massive resource gap between public and private institutions that has widened over several decades and is reflected in these rankings:

Across the US, deep cuts in state funding for public higher education have accelerated this trend dramatically over the past three years. In response, the Seattle Times Company and several partners have formed to create the Greater Good Campaign to highlight the risks this trend poses to public higher education in Washington State and to the future of Washingtonians.

The Seattle PI drew attention to two major UW  Initiatives that were recently highlighted in a message from Provost Mary Lidstrom. Be sure to check out the new websites detailing both of these new efforts:

The National Center For Education Statistics (NCES) is a part of the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. Every US University governed by Title IV of the Higher Education Act (federal student aid programs) is required to submit annual data to NCES via nine surveys that cover topics such as pricing, admissions, enrollment, employment, financial aid, graduation/completion, institutional finance and more.

NCES releases regular reports synthesizing the massive amount of data that institutions submit. The latest, Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2009, and Salaries of Full-Time Instructional Staff, 2009-10, summarizes national trends in higher education employment. Some of the findings include:

  • Institutions reported employing (not including medical schools or hospitals) 3.8 million employees– 2.4 million full-time and 1.4 million part-time.
  • Of the 2.4 million full-time employees,  1.4 million were classified as professional (see report for definition), 46% of whom had faculty status: 21% with tenure, 9% on the tenure-track, and 17% not on the tenure-track or at an institution without tenure.
  • Of full-time faculty with tenure, 65% were men while 35% were women.
  • Of full-time faculty with tenure, 81% were White, 8% were Asian, 5% were African American, and 4% were Hispanic.

You can explore more NCES reports, facts, and figures online. Additionally, you can build your own queries and pull up institutional data based on any set of universities you identify.

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