According to our analysis of Bentley’s online class schedule, there are 929 courses being taught during the Fall 2014 semester, of which 260 – or 28 percent – are being taught by adjunct faculty. This includes 805 undergraduate courses – of which adjunct faculty teach 232, or 28.8 percent – and 124 graduate courses, of which adjunct faculty teach 28, or 22.6 percent. We counted 512 distinct individuals on the schedule, of which 181, or 35.4 percent, are adjunct faculty.
Bentley reported spending $71.45 million on instructional costs in Fiscal Year 2014, according to its FY 2014 Audited Financial Statement (p. 20), which coincides with the Summer 2013-Spring 2014 academic terms. During that period, adjunct faculty taught 518 undergraduate courses and 74 graduate courses, according to our analysis of Bentley’s online class schedules. The base pay for adjunct faculty was $5,000 per undergraduate course and $5,200 per graduate course, resulting in total adjunct pay of $2,974,800. After adding 7.65 percent for the employer’s share of federal payroll taxes, the total for this period was $3,202,372, or 4.5 percent of Bentley’s spending on instruction.
Bentley reported tuition and fee revenue of $205.953 million in FY 14 (AFS, p. 3). In order to arrive at the savings realized by relying on adjunct labor we first have to net out fees. According to Bentley’s FY 13-14 rate chart, undergraduate technology and activity fees totaled $1,510, and graduate technology and activity fees came to $425. Undergraduate tuition was $39,600, and tuition for the Emerging Leaders MBA was $35,000. So as a percentage of tuition plus fees, undergraduate fees were 3.67 percent of the total, and graduate fees were 1.2 percent of the total.
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), there were 4,247 undergraduate students and 1,411 graduate students enrolled in Fall 2013. On a weighted-average basis, then, combined undergraduate and graduate fees were 3.06 percent of combined undergraduate and graduate tuition plus fees. This means that, net of fees, Bentley’s FY 14 tuition revenue was $198,658,533 – or $205.953 million less 3.06 percent. Bentley awarded $70.523 million in financial aid in FY 14 (AFS, p. 3). So its net tuition revenue, after discounting fees, as explained above, and financial aid, was $129,135,533.
There were 1,949 courses taught at Bentley during the Summer 2013 through Spring 2014 period. Net tuition revenue per course is calculated by dividing tuition revenue, net of fees received and financial aid awarded, by the number of courses: $66,257. Total adjunct employment costs, as calculated above, were $3,202,372, and there were 592 courses taught by adjunct faculty. Therefore the average adjunct payroll cost per course was $5,409.
The difference between these figures – net tuition revenue per course and average adjunct payroll per course – is the average adjunct contribution margin: $60,848. That’s how much Bentley potentially had left over to invest in the classroom after paying the adjunct faculty who teach the classes. Across 592 courses, the total adjunct contribution margin was $36,022,016.