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Salaries of Mid-Level Administrators Rose Slightly in 2011

April 19, 2012

The median base salary for mid-level administrative positions at U.S. colleges and universities rose 2 percent in 2011, according to the CUPA-HR’s 2011-12 Mid-Level Administrative & Professional Salary Survey. In 2010, mid-level administrators’ salaries rose 1.3 percent.

The CUPA-HR survey examined salaries of 193,248 mid-level professional staff employed at 1,084 institutions. Public institutions account for 45 percent of the total, while private nonprofit institutions make up 54 percent. The remaining 1 percent were for-profit schools.

While the overall median salary for mid-level professionals grew 2 percent, salary gains varied by type of institution. At private colleges and universities (for-profit and nonprofit combined), earnings grew by 2.2 percent, compared with just 1.4 percent for those at public schools. In both instances, the gains in salary were below the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index, which increased 3.2 percent.

There was also a great deal of variation in wage growth by institutional Carnegie classification. At private doctoral/research universities, the median salary increased 2.5 percent. In contrast, at associate’s level institutions (primarily community colleges) the median increase was just 1.7 percent. Median earnings were flat at special focus public institutions (such as law schools, medical schools, etc.)

Salaries for Business Office Personnel

The overall gain in salaries of staff in business and administrative affairs positions was also 2 percent. Median salaries in 2011 among business office staff varied greatly. Junior level accountants, for instance, had a median pay of $42,870, while similarly graded auditors had a median salary of $50,171 and budget analysts earned $50,635. Senior accountants had a median salary of $55,140, compared with $65,217 for senior auditors and $65,400 for senior budget analysts. Salary levels for several other mid-level positions are posted on the CUPA-HR Web site.

An executive summary of the survey report is also available from CUPA-HR.


Ken Redd
Director, Research and Policy Analysis