In Obama’s farewell speech, he said politics is the battle for ideas. But I came to realize that politics is the battle for interests. ==The caveat is that the winner tells the story and keep the rule to his advantage==. So I spend some time digging out where does the public money go in our state — Oklahoma, especially to the education sector. I also want to get the first hand information about how much money a research professor earns. How about a research post-doc?
OK state board of equalization
total appropriation is 5.7 B. of which 4.9B is from general revenue fund, of which 2 B is from Income Tax- individual and 1.9 B from sales Tax, 0.26 from Income Tax-Corporate.
Education funding: 3.4 B in 2017. It is very weird to me there is something called education lottery trust fund. It is a relatively small amount of money. Let’s have a look.
By the way, Harvard has a endowment of 34.5 B, MIT has 13.2 B, Princeton has 22.2 B. Standford has 22.4 B. Yale has 25 B. Carnegie Mellon has 1.7 B.
Oklahoma education lottery trust fund
In 2002, Democrat Brad Henry won the Governor of Oklahoma by 0.6% or ~7 k votes. He then proposed for a lottery and claimed it might generate $ 300 million per year for education. And voters approved the lottery. By law, 35% of revenue goes to education fund
The fact is from 2005.10 to 2014.10, the total amount of lottery fund is $625 m. But if you do the math, 35% for lower education , divided by 520 school districts, and 9 years. Then each districts received $60 k annually. It is not that much.
And the money generated by education is decreasing to 65 M in 2016, 52 M in 2017,
Henry insisted he didn’t misled the voter and say it is because the restriction put on the lottery. And say it is better than nothing. The governor runs the lottery and lottery officials try to privatize the lottery.
783 million funds so far. 45% go to k-12 education. 40% go to higher education.
Public money goes to OK higher education
Higher education FY 2017 appropriation: 810 M
FY 2018 budget need: 958 M. So 148 M or 18.% increase, mostly spend on degree completion program
1 dollar invested in higher education gets $4.72 in return to the economy.
85% percent of Oklahoma graduate remain in the state 1 year after graduation.
As we see, the state support for Oklahoma higher education is fluctuating up and down during the past decade.
According to US census Bureau, the lifelong earning for professionals, doctorates, bachelor and a high school graduate is 5.2, 4.0, 2.6 and 1.5 million. This means that as long as your investment for education is less than 1 million, it is all worth it.
OU Norman Campus budget
in 2017, total operating budget is $ 940 M, of which 540 M is for educational and general, of which 125 M is to Faculty salaries, 38 M to Monthly Staff, 13 M to Hourly Staff, 53 M to Maintains and operations.
It is a shame that the tuition fee is increased by 45%!
To balance the remaining ~ 400 M deficits, 69 M is from Federal, 63 M from state & local, 108 M from Athletic Lloyd Noble, 54 M from Housing and Food.
Compare to OSU
The budget for OU is as large as the OK government funding for higher education for the whole state!
For OSU, its total revenue is 1.3 B, of which 195 M is from state appropriations, 349 M from tuition. this chart clearly shows the relative change between state input and student input during the past 35 years. This means that the University is struggling to survive by running business. What does public school mean if the public money drop from 70% to 23%? In 2015, the out-of-student OSU students bring 265 M tuitions, in contrast to 122 M by state appropriations.
OSU has 5 k full time employees and 26 k students. While OU has 2.8 K full-time faculty members and 30 K students.( which means average salary is 44 K)
Affordable. the tuition fee is 7.4 k and living cost is 17 K while Per capita personal income is 44 k. This means education cost is 65% of the income.
If we divide the total salary of OU faculties by the number, we get 125M/2.8k = 44k. This is slightly lower than the median household income for Oklahoma, $ 48.5 k, while the national median income is $55.8 K in 2015. However, a survey shows the student to faculty ratio at OU is 18:1. Specifically, there are 1.4 k instructional employees (including 676 tenured faculties). In addition, there are 940 instructional graduate assistants and 878 non-instructional graduate assistants. As a result, if I use a non-inflated number of 1412 faculties, the average salary is 88.5 k, which make more sense.
OK state minimum wage is $7.25 per hour since 2009.7.24. This is equivalent to per year. This is basically what a poor graduate assistant earns. However, even this low income is not guaranteed because the state law excludes employee like part-time or employer that has less than 10 employees. It is a shame that the minimum wage can be as low as 2 dollars . However, I really don’t want to deal with the complexity of the law. If the pay is so low, government has the responsibility to empower its citizen by providing training program and get them job ready for a better market value.
If you think government should not manipulate the market, then you can understand why Mary Fallin, the Governor of OK, opposed Obama’s call to raise the minimum wage to 10 dollar per hour .
For OU, they set a bar of $47,476, especially for the non-teaching postdoc. They are paid bi-weekly and paid for overtime. volunteering to work longer hours is not allowed. All hours must be paid
According to a 2014-2015 report by OK higher education, the average salary of all full-time faculty is $67,482. To be more accurate, in the two research Universities, OU and OSU, average salaries is 116 k, 77k, 72 k, 43 k for professor, associate, assistant professor, and instructor.
However, a research postdoc is not included in this report because the money usually comes from federal level. And the specific amount is usually decided by the principal investigator. It is a case-by-case study. I don’t think the PI is willing to reveal the information because the expensive research is highly dependent on cheap postdoc labors.