Tenured/tenure-track faculty saw a 2.1 percent increase in median base pay

Stefanie Botelho's picture

The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) recently released the findings of its 2013-14 Faculty in Higher Education Salary Survey by Discipline, Rank and Tenure Status in Four-Year Colleges and Universities. Data show that the overall median base salaries of tenured/tenure-track faculty members in U.S. higher education institutions increased at the same rate in 2013 as the year prior (2.1 percent). However, for the first time in four years, increases were greater at public institutions (2.2 percent) than at private institutions (2.0 percent).

This finding reflects the salaries of 178,717 tenured/tenure-track faculty members at 792 institutions nationwide. Data are collected by discipline for the ranks of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, new assistant professor and instructor. Data for assistant professors also includes the salaries of new assistant professors. Salaries were reported separately for tenured/tenure-track faculty and non-tenure-track faculty. The results shared in this press release are for tenured/tenure-track faculty only.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers [CPI-U] in 2013 was 1 percent higher than in 2012. As such, the median salary increase this year was better than inflation for both public and private institutions.

Data Breakdown

Salary Increases by Carnegie Class: In terms of Carnegie Classification, median increases in faculty salaries were about the same for private and public institutions in all but the Baccalaureate category. For this group, the median increase at public institutions was 2.3 percent compared to 2.0 percent for privates.

Salary Increases by Rank: Median increases by rank were greater at public than at private institutions across all ranks. This is quite a change, given that in the preceding four years, median increases for publics exceeded that of privates only once, and that was for instructors.

Highest-Paid Faculty Disciplines: The 2-digit disciplines with the highest average salaries are the same for private and public institutions for all ranks combined, and also the same as the last six years — Legal Professions and Studies; Engineering; and Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services.

Lowest-Paid Faculty Disciplines: The 2-digit disciplines with the lowest average salaries are different for private and public institutions for all ranks combined. For privates, the lowest average salaries are in the disciplines of Communications Technologies/Technicians and Support Services; Theology and Religious Vocations; and Parks, Recreation, Leisure and Fitness Studies. For publics, the lowest average salaries are in the disciplines of History; English Language and Literature/Letters; and Visual and Performing Arts.

Visit the CUPA-HR website to read the full Executive Summary, view select data tables or order survey results.

Survey Participants

Public institutions comprise 39 percent (311) of the 2013-14 respondents and private institutions comprise 61 percent (481) of respondents. The responding private institutions include slightly more religiously affiliated (254) than private independent and for-profit (non-religious) institutions (227). In terms of classification, Master’s colleges and universities are the largest group of participants at 45.9 percent (364) and include more private than public institutions. Baccalaureate colleges comprise 26 percent (206) of respondents. Doctoral institutions comprise 20.3 percent (161) of respondents, and two-thirds are public. Special Focus institutions are the smallest segment of respondents at 7.8 percent (61), and almost all are private institutions. About 35 percent (108) of the responding public institutions report that their faculties are unionized.


CUPA-HR is higher ed HR. We serve higher education by providing the knowledge, resources, advocacy and connections to achieve organizational and workforce excellence. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, and serving more than 17,000 HR professionals and other campus leaders at more than 1,900 member organizations around the country and abroad, the association offers learning and professional development programs, higher education salary and benefits data, extensive online resources and just-in-time regulatory and legislative information. Our membership includes 91 percent of all U.S. doctoral institutions, 77 percent of all master’s institutions, 57 percent of all bachelor’s institutions and 600 community colleges and specialized institutions.

CUPA-HR is the recognized authority on compensation surveys for higher education, with its salary surveys designed by higher ed HR professionals for higher ed HR professionals and other campus leaders.

Contact Information:

Missy Kline

Managing Editor