Compensation represents the bulk of almost any higher education budget. And the brain trust of the faculty and the skills of the administrators and staff are what make any institution great. Therefore, pay is an important reward but, with finite resources, must be used effectively for compensating people fairly and acknowledging people for a job well done.
Give time off instead of pay raises
Evaluate chronic use of overtime or overload, and cut where possible
Eliminate overload pay during college vacations
Have finance administrators review, critique, and sign off on collective bargaining agreements
Implement rewards for cost saving ideas and deliver rewards as additional pay
Review pay practices, especially in administration, for fairness
Employ college aides instead of paying overtime
Reduce abuse of compensatory time system
Develop Pay-for-Performance or merit pay concepts
Reduce pay of tenure review committee or make tenure review work part of regular assignments rather than extra pay assignments
Solicit volunteers among full-time faculty to work reduced workloads for reduced pay
Equalize Pay for Work performed by faculty (e.g., class sizes, labs, etc.)
Stop automatic pay increases based on Cost of Living Allowances and the Consumer Price Index
Ensure that individuals receiving augmented pay for bilingual skills are assigned to areas where such skills are needed
Do not pay instructional rates for non-instructional staff work
Pay part-time instructors on a course basis, rather than an hourly one
Freeze all step increases at the mid-point of the range for a limited time
Have employees voluntarily take from one to 20 days off per year without pay while retaining benefits
Pay stipends for ESL student tutors in lieu of hiring ESL instructors
Prevent abuses when giving credit for “life experience” when determining job or pay grade
Redefine the college’s compensation philosophy to one that pays slightly below market
Offer a voluntary leave program without pay and without replacements
Institute voluntary or involuntary furloughs or unpaid leaves of absence
When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target.
- George Fisher
KH Consulting Group (KH) started this Know-How site in 2009 to create a forum for sharing ideas on effectively enhancing revenues and containing costs in higher education in the near and longer term.
KH has posted more than 500 ideas. You can join the forum at:
Note: The ideas shared are not prescriptive and will not work in all situations or at all institutions. Some of the ideas are tactical – quick victories to save money in easy ways. Others are strategic, requiring careful analysis before implementing.