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World & Nation

A major research report has found that economic mobility in the United States has not changed significantly over the last three decades, and a widening gap in higher education between rich and poor, and between whites and minorities, may make it harder for today’s poor to move up the income ladder.

In recent years, the report notes, only 11 percent of children from the poorest families have earned college degrees, compared to 53 percent of children from the top fifth. Getting Ahead or Losing Ground: Mobility in America, prepared by scholars at the Brookings Institution in Washington and sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts, reinforces other findings that family background remains a large predictor of future income.

The Pew-sponsored studies are continuing, with another report expected this spring, by the more conservative Heritage Foundation, that will focus on explanations for the trends described in the current report.

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) is predicting that the rapid growth in the numbers of high school graduates that began in the early 1990s will end this year.

Knocking at the College Door, the WICHE annual report, produced with support from ACT and the College Board, projects that a period of moderate declines in the number of high school graduates—and consequently in the number of traditional-aged college applicants—will begin in 2008–09 and extend through around 2013–14.

“The second baby boom, if you will, has come to an end this year,” said WICHE president David A. Longanecker.

The decline, WICHE points out, will be uneven, with increasing numbers of graduates in the South and West, drops in the Northeast and Midwest, and increases in Hispanic graduates as the number of white youth falls.

You can learn more about WICHE, view state profiles, and order copies of Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates by State and Race/Ethnicity, 1992-2022 online at

Faculty & Staff

Administrators at the nation’s colleges and universities received a median salary increase of 3.9 percent for the 2007–08 academic year, according to an annual survey released last week by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.

The increase was slightly larger than the 3.8 percent increase in 2006–07, and beat the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers, which rose 2.8 percent in the past fiscal year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The median increase was 4 percent for public institutions and 3.7 percent at private institutions, according to the survey, which covered 1,125 institutions and 206 job categories, including accountants, doctors, lawyers, and security guards. The highest-paid administrators were staff doctors, with a median salary of $122,648. The lowest-paid were security guards, at $26,355.

Copies of the survey can be purchased online at  

Professional News

The nation’s colleges and universities and the systems they are part of employed 3.54 million people in the fall of 2006, according to the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education.

Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2006, and Salaries of Full-Time Instructional Faculty, 2006–07, which provides data from the winter 2006–07 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) surveys, also reported that the average pay in 2006–07 of full-time professors, excluding those at medical schools, was $67,316.

In 2006, the survey found, 65 percent of higher ed employees worked full time and 35 percent were part-timers. By sector, 66 percent worked at public colleges and universities, 28 percent were at private nonprofit institutions, and 6 percent were at private for-profit institutions.

The full report, including information on salaries and fringe benefits, is online at

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