National report calls out U’s admin spending

President Eric Kaler says the report used incorrect data and the University’s spending is on track.

by Anne Millerbernd

A national study criticized the University of Minnesota’s administrative spending, but the numbers may be skewed.

The Institute for Policy Studies released a report on Sunday, evaluating public universities’ levels of administrative spending in comparison to their student debt levels and numbers of contingent faculty employed. The report ranked the University third most unequal in its spending. The institute pulled the report Tuesday morning and issued a statement saying a revised study will be released once the data is checked for inaccuracies. 

President Eric Kaler said on Monday that the report, released by a self-described “progressive multi-issue think tank” based out of Washington D.C., used faulty and poorly analyzed data.

“The people who wrote this report used the federal data,” he said, “and simply didn’t understand the data well enough to get the results that they claim.”

The authors collected public data to determine which public schools spent the most on executives and administrators, according to Sunday’s report.

The report titled “The One Percent at State U” came less than two years after a Wall Street Journal article criticized the University’s administrative spending.

The latest report accused the University of drastically increasing its number of administrative staff while decreasing spending on full-time faculty and student scholarships.

The institution tripled its number of non-academic administrative staff from 2010 to 2012, according to the report.

The University denied these findings in a public response released Sunday. The release said there hasn’t been a dramatic increase in non-academic staff and the University increased spending for scholarships by nearly 50 percent from 2005 to 2012.

The University’s response said while they agree the report addresses important issues, like administrative spending and student debt, it fails to address them in a “responsible and truthful way.”

It also neglects to address the University’s progress toward cutting administrative spending, the response said.

Kaler announced a plan in September to cut administrative costs by $90 million over the next five years. His proposed budget for the next school year includes $20 million of cuts.