ANALYSIS: Student population dropped but administrative staff remained relatively high
Despite having a relatively small student population and budget concerns over the years, Kentucky State University’s ratio of administrators to students grew nearly 18 percent over the last decade, an analysis conducted by The College Fix found.
There were 235 administrators for every 1,000 students at the historically black college in the 2021-22 school year, the most recent year for which data are available.
This is a 17.5 percent increase from the 2013-14 school year, when there were 200 administrators for every 1,000 students, according to the analysis, which used data provided by Kentucky State to the federal Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
There were also 2.5 times more administrators than teaching staff during the 2021-22 school year, The Fix analysis found.
During the 2021-22 school year, Kentucky State had 315 full-time administrators and support staff on its payroll; in contrast, it had 125 full-time teaching and instructional staffers. The total number of undergrads that year was 1,339, a small number of students compared to other universities.
Under the College Fix analysis, administrators and support staff include management, student and academic affairs divisions, IT, public relations, administrative support, maintenance, and legal and other non-academic departments.
The university has grappled with budget problems for years now. A state-ordered report found the school ran a total operating deficit of $35 million from 2016 to 2020.
The media relations team did not respond to two requests for comment sent in the past two weeks that asked about any plans to cut administrator roles due to budget problems and for further comment on the growth.
The school has paid its university presidents well. The former president of the university, Christopher Brown, earned a $270,000 salary, but other benefits raised his compensation to $400,000. This includes over $40,000 in housing stipends because he chose not to live in the university-owned mansion, according to The State Journal.
The publication had to go to court to get KSU to turn over records relating to a birthday party thrown for President Brown, as previously reported by The Fix.
Former acting President Clara Ross Stamps made around $230,000 per year, according to the documents obtained in 2021 by the Kentucky newspaper.
In comparison, the average salary for a full-time KSU professor is $58,792, not counting fringe benefits, which can raise compensation to closer to $77,000.
Former head football coach Charlie Jackson made $163,000 per year, according to the local newspaper. His team went 14-7 in the two seasons he coached at KSU.
The administrator salaries are much higher than the average pay for office and administrative support workers, which average just under $45,000, according to federally reported data.
Diversity spending is not a primary driver of administrative bloat at the HBCU, unlike what The Fix found at Harvard University.
The HBCU has few identifiable “diversity, equity, and inclusion” staffers and administrators.
Former Vice President for Student Engagement and Public Life Derek Greenfield also served as chief diversity officer, but he is no longer employed at the school. Most HBCUs lack DEI offices, according to prior research conducted by The Fix.
A College Fix search of the university directory identified only two individuals with “equity” in their titles – Ashlie Smoot-Baker, the campus equity and inclusion coordinator, and Alethea Bernard, a state specialist in health equity.
Smoot-Baker made $42,792.24, according to The State Journal. Bernard made $39,477 while at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, but no information could be found for her KSU salary.
IMAGE: Kentucky State University/Facebook