PTers’ Hours Cut On Over 200 Campuses To Avoid Affordable Healthcare Act
If one job category stands out for bearing a heavy price from ObamaCare-related cuts to work hours, it might be adjunct college faculty.
Part-time employees comprise “more than 75 percent of the total instructional staff as of fall 2009,” according to a 2012 AAUP report. Contrast that with 1969, when just 21 percent of instructional staff was made up of non-tenure-track positions, according to the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the University of Southern California.
Among 313 employers now on Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) list of companies that have cut work hours or permanent staff, or shifted to part-time hiring, there are 54 colleges and universities that have scaled back the hours adjunct faculty may teach.
The list also includes 80 public school districts that have cut hours or outsourced the job functions of teacher aides, cafeteria workers and other employees.
Still, the inclusion of a number of community college systems such as Maricopa, Ivy Tech and Dallas County means that cuts in adjunct faculty hours now extend to nearly 200 college and university campuses attended by about 1.6 million students. There are about 5,000 college campuses in the U.S. A total of 10.3 million people were enrolled in four-year colleges in 2012, according to the new Census Bureau numbers. Another 3.8 million were enrolled in graduate schools, and nearly 6 million were enrolled in two-year colleges. The nation’s college enrollment declined by 2.2 percent last year as an improving economy helped bring to an end to years of student growth. That means colleges enrolled about 500,000 fewer students, total last year, again according to data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau.
All over the country, adjunct teaching loads are being limited to nine credit hours — just below the 30-hour threshold at which Affordable Care Act employer penalties hit. That’s the equivalent of nine hours per week in the classroom and 18 hours of work preparing, grading, etc.
Colleges and universities across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and throughout Europe have become heavily dependent upon modestly paid, sessional, casual and part-time faculty members who, in the U.S., were ineligible for health benefits. Now, faced with providing the same type of generous coverage offered tenured professors or cutting hours, many U.S. college administrators see little choice but to cut, rather than reallocate resources.
Of a dozen employers added to IBD’s list on Sept. 25, nine are colleges and universities. Of those, eight put new restrictions on adjunct hours. Several also cut work hours for students, a step backward for helping future grads emerge with manageable levels of student loan debt.
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