Your Tuition at Work


faculty-staffThere’s been a lot of talk lately around campus about Penn State expenditures. This got some of us thinking about how much money the University invests in its second greatest asset (other than us, the students, of course): its faculty. Thanks to the Pennsylvania Joint Government Commission, this query can be answered. The report sensually titled, “Information Disclosure of the State-Related Universities“, breaks salaries down by both individual college (e.g. Liberal Arts) and by teaching level (e.g. full professor, associate prof, etc.). So, what is the best paying college?

The best paying? Why it’s the Smeal College of Business Administration! Teaching the next Bill Schreyer will earn you some serious bank, about $166,512 yearly worth for the average full professor. Associate Professors make around $131,158. Even Instructors, the lowest teaching grade at State, make a reasonable $64,025 in Smeal.

Following Smeal, the College of Information Sciences and Technology is the next best paying college. IST and Business… makes a lot of sense. Their full professors can expect to earn around $151,025. Eberly College of Science is next, with their profs clocking in at $123,347. My college, the beloved Liberal Arts, is next at $120,236 and it’s all downhill from there.

This money might seem like a lot, and it is, but keep in mind that the State College Metropolitan Area (thanks Veblen) is a very expensive one is live in. Some teachers commute daily from as far as Lewistown because real estate is more affordable there. Also, some professors, though usually not full professors, as they’re older, are still paying off all those loans from their Ph.D academic adventures. That’s not cheap.

The total money spent on faculty salaries ($738,344,381, including Commonwealth locations) is 49.2% of the annual Penn State budget. That is certainly a lot of money, but as President Spanier hinted this afternoon, some of that money will be saved by not filling all open faculty positions. All this in order to have money on hand for other important business, like buying real estate.

So next time you’re half asleep in lecture, attempt to pay some attention. That bookish nerd in front of you is trying to earn his (or her) paycheck.


About Author

Eli is a junior majoring in International Politics. He enjoys paninis and books.


  1. I’m not at all surprised that Smeal is the highest paying college, but I’d be curious to see the individual departmental breakdown of the salaries – for example, does finance pay more than say, supply chain? Last time I was at a Smeal board meeting, they were definitely not willing to reveal that. Anyways, two interesting facts:

    1. An accounting major who did his thesis on retirement planning for academics told me that a starting full-time professor in accounting with heavy Wall Street experience and CPA/CFA license has a salary base of $300,000. Yes, that’s $300,00 starting salary, but still a big pay decrease from any senior-level accounting job on Wall Street.

    2. For my management class, the professor shared with us his asset portfolio at one point (I forget why), and his net worth was over $2 million. He’s been at Penn State since 1974 after getting a Ph.D and fellowship from Berkley and Stanford. So kids, yes you can be a millionaire by being a professor all your life.

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