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October 25, 2014

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UNLV faculty pay is ahead of UNR but lags nationally

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Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich discusses his legislative agenda, including the new funding formula, during a Las Vegas Sun editorial board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013.

UNLV professors in general earn less than the national average, but are paid more than faculty at UNR, according to a national report released this week.

Each spring, the American Association of University Professors publishes the results of a survey looking at faculty compensation. Nearly 1,160 institutions across the country participated in the professional organization's survey this year.

The average 2013-14 salary for a “full professor” at UNLV is $121,000, according to the report. The university’s 284 senior-level, tenured professors earn about $6,000 less than the average for doctorate-granting public universities nationally.

The average salary for an “associate professor” at UNLV is $87,500. The university’s 283 mid-level, typically-tenured professors earn about $900 more than the national average.

The average salary for an “assistant professor” at UNLV is $70,400. The university’s 225 tenure-track professors earn about $5,000 less than the national average.

While most UNLV faculty salaries are lower than the national average, professors in Las Vegas on average earn more than their counterparts in Reno, according to the report. UNLV faculty at all levels earn $1,000 to $3,800 more per year than UNR faculty, likely because of differences in cost-of-living and academic specialties.

The faculty compensation report comes as Nevada's higher education leaders push to restore faculty pay in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Since 2009, faculty salaries have been cut by 4.8 percent and state leaders froze merit raises and instituted six mandatory furlough days each year.

Last year, the Legislature restored base pay and reinstated merit pay, but maintained the furlough days. Starting in July, Nevada's professors will receive $7 million in merit pay, of which $2.9 million will go to faculty in Las Vegas. Merit increases will be given to professors, based on their performance in teaching, research and community service.

Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich said reinstating faculty pay and benefits will help ensure that Nevada colleges and universities can recruit and retain quality professors and researchers.

The merit pay increases for faculty come as Nevada's higher education leaders consider a four-year proposal to increase student tuition at UNLV and UNR by 17 percent, starting in 2015. The Board of Regents is expected to vote on the tuition hike proposal this spring or summer.

If approved, UNLV's annual tuition would jump from $5,745 in 2013-14 to $6,740 by 2018-19. Over the course of four years, a student entering UNLV in 2015 would end up paying more than $1,400 to cover the tuition increase.

Although UNLV remains one of the more affordable colleges in the country, the university's tuition rate has more than doubled in the past decade, outpacing the rate of inflation. In Nevada, the average college student graduates with nearly $20,000 in loans, which is about $6,000 lower than the national average.

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